Open Day 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We are still on a massive high after our best ever Open Day last Sunday - 367 visitors on a perfect afternoon for garden visiting. Warm but not too sunny with no threat of rain in the forecast. We had a feeling from very early on that this was going to be a special day as a steady stream of visitors began arriving even before the official opening time of 1.00pm and didn't stop all afternoon. All our helpers on teas, washing up, car parking and plant sales were going full tilt and Moira and I scarcely stopped talking all afternoon - nothing new there!!

So many lovely people and such complimentary comments about the Gardens which even I had to admit (and I am my own worst critic) look really good inspite of all the ups and downs of the weather this "summer" The vegetable garden as is increasingly the case, drew lots of attention reflecting the increasing numbers of people growing veggies, as did the main herbaceous borders in the Paddock Garden and as always the most commented upon flowers were the simple ones like ladybird poppies and interestingly enough this year, the numerous forms of thalictrums we have all over the gardens.

The unusual nature of some of the plants (and we do grow a lot of them) was a talking point for some people and it was good to have enquiries in particular about the impatiens (balsams or commonly "busy lizzies) family which do well in the gardens especially the mighty tall and impressive impatiens tinctoria from the highlands of Kenya, 7 foot tall with scented red and white flowers, and the smaller but equally impresssive on account of its blue flowers, impatiens namchabarwensis from Tibet. It was recently found there in the deepest canyon in the world, three times the depth of the Grand Canyon in America! They sold out within a few minutes of opening!! Pics of both in July news to be published soon.

In all we made £1750 on the day which added to the proceeds already collected from 16 private visits takes our total revenue for the year to a little under £4,000 and we still have four left to come in August and September. We are overwhelmed and so grateful to all our visitors and our many helpers without whom it would simply not be possible to open the gardens. The charities that will benefit from our takings (and those of about 3,500 other gardens which open for The National Gardens Scheme in England and Wales) include Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, Help The Hospices, Caring for Careers, National Trust Gardening Careerships and numerous other smaller charities. The 2 major cancer charities receive almost half of the total raised revenue. So thank you to everyone who makes this level of support available to these worthwhile causes.

It was with some sadness that we had to inform visitors we will not be having an Open Day next year. We are hoping to build a conservatory some time in 2012 and we do not consider it prudent to admit large numbers of visitors to the gardens whilst those works are taking place. We much regret this because our openings have become a firm fixture in the calendar of local events but if the opportunity permits some time next year then we do hope to invite private visits and for that reason will still have a Yellow Book entry for 2012. The garden nursery will not be affected by the works and will be open from May to September for your plant purchases with the usual range of "treasures" for sale. Please give us a ring or send us an e-mail if you would like to come to buy plants (see Contact Details elsewhere in the website)

We have been having a week off with friends this week and have a family wedding this weekend so this news is restricted to the Open Day. July News in the usual format will appear some time next week. 

In the meantime here are some pics to give a small taster of a never to be forgotten day



Our usual welcome banner - the quiet before the storm!!




And here come the crowds. Its quite scary when you can't see your lawn for people but don't they look a jolly lot led by Joy and Sheila on the right of the picture.l




 The car park filling up, plant sales in full swing (bottom right hand corner) and visitors all over the garden.




The Summer House Tea Rooms - waiting for business. Shortly after this picture was taken there was a long queue!




General view of the Paddock Garden across waterlily pond. Seats filling up all over the gardens.




Plant sales in full swing. Many visitors make a bee line for the Nursery on arrival and some appear to remain there all afternoon! A plant creche enables them to to tour the gardens and take tea unencumbered by their plants.




A weary couple raise a smile after an unfrogettable day! Time for a few glasses of wine with friends and a well earned rest.



Note Moira in her National Gardens Scheme Outfit of yellow and black!