This is just a short piece to announce that we’re opening our garden for the last weekend of September – in a week’s time. Yes, it has been a horrible season for weeds and somehow we’ve managed to get more or less on top of them. But there have been big compensations: the large numbers of grasses are putting out resplendent tassels and the asters are looking better than ever. Most important of all, plants are looking green and healthy – even this late in the year. And there’s also quite an enticing hint of the strong autumn colours that are to come in October and November.
Last year all our visitors had to book a time-slot in advance, via the National Gardens Scheme website. This year things are different. Yes, you can book an advance slot through the NGS, but you don’t have to. We’ll still let you in. The thing is, the garden is very large (over 10 acres?) and you simply don’t need to rub shoulders with other visitors. Having said that, we’d be very grateful if you could wear masks when queueing for tea, for admission or at the plant stall. First admissions are at 11.00 AM, last at 4.00 PM, but you don’t have to leave until after 5.00 PM, when our volunteers will be starting to pack things up. The cost of admission is £4.50. It’s worth remembering that evenings are starting to draw in.
Last year we weren’t allowed to sell tea or drinks, but our brilliant Tea Team came up with the idea of offering pre-wrapped slices of cake in its place. They proved hugely popular, so we plan to repeat them, but we’ll also be offering our visitors traditional tea and cake, served on antique china with cups and saucers (not mugs, perish the thought!). And the tea is brewed properly in a teapot, so you don’t have to dangle a bag in your cup. The teas will be served from the pergola at the back of the house, which we refer to as the Poop Deck, because of its wooden floor. The large wisteria on the back of the house and the pergola is starting to form a green roof. The plant stall, run by Linda, will feature plants from our garden and those of our helpers. This year it’s very well stocked. Last year we also offered the sheltered little paddock alongside Chicken Lane, at the back of the vegetable garden, as a place for enjoying picnics. That also proved a big hit, so we plan to repeat it this year. If it’s not too wet we’ll also provide a few straw bales. One other thing to return from 2019 will be the stall of second-hand gardening books, provided by my brother-in-law Nigel Smith, who also edits this blog. Thank you Nigel!
It’ll be great to see you back. And remember, spend money like water: every penny will go to nursing and medical charities. We’re looking forward to it hugely!