Well, we’ve done it!! We’ve had our first (and last??) Open Garden for the NGS.

What a weekend! The weather last week was glorious, but by mid week the weather forecastpredicted that the weekend would be cold, rainy and windy. Ha!!!

It rained all morning on Saturday and for the first part of the afternoon, so we were all very anxiousthat we would not have many, if any, visitors.

However, by three in the afternoon the sun came out and the garden was suddenly full of people .What a difference the weather makes! It was so nice to see friends and visitors walking around the garden and then having the lovely refreshments provided by Claire House, a children’s Hospice. I was very nervous when the NGS County Organiser, Mr Nicholas Payne, arrived, but he was so charming, complimentary and reassuring that I actually started to relax.

Everyone said how good the garden was looking, and were very kind in their comments. Paul and I were kept busy answering questions and chatting to our visitors; such a nice way to spend the afternoon. I was very relieved that I actually remembered the names of those plants that Iwas asked to identify! So Saturday evening ended on a high, with us sitting in the sun having a barbeque.

Shall I even mention Sunday? It rained solidly all day. Talk about awful weather. However, there is always something positive, isn’t there? Our volunteers remained cheery and positive throughout the day, displaying the good old British stoicism; a number of other NGS Garden Owners and neighbours turned up to give us their support, and some very brave (but mad?) friends and visitors came, again determined to see the garden and support our efforts. Even the majority of the plants showed solidarity and stayed determinedly upright!!

Again, everyone was very complimentary about the garden which cheered us up a bit!

Of course, the only way we could have done this was with the help of other people, so now for my Oscar moment:

Our daughter Sarah who did lots of baking, looked after the money, and did sterling work on the gate; our son Phil who, with his fiancée, prepared a lovely garden booklet to give to visitors, and he also checked everything was running smoothly on the day; my sister Dianne and niece Katy who bravely manned the plant stall, regularly retreating into the nearby polytunnel for some shelter; and friends Roger and Keith who controlled the car parking with wonderful good humour, getting totally soaked in the process. Also, our garden helper, Tony, who helps us whenever he can.

The Claire House volunteers were wonderful and provided all our visitors with beautiful homemade cakes, and thanks to those poor souls who helped in the pouring rain and had to assemble/take down the gazebos.

My biggest thanks of all goes to my husband Paul, whom I talked into ‘opening to the public’, andwho has worked tirelessly to make the garden the best that we can. I will never complain about his lawn mowing and compost bins again (well not for a few weeks anyway).

Of course the main purpose of the Open Garden is to raise money for charity.

We raised £583 for the NGS and Claire House raised quite a nice sum from the refreshments.

*We have had a number of people saying that they would have come on Sunday but the rain wasjust too dreadful, so I have decided to open the garden twice again in August.