We opened our garden this weekend as part of Worton and Marston gardens open for Dorothy House Hospice. In all 22 gardens participated. Some visitors split the viewings over two days, for others we were the final sprint at the end of a day’s marathon of viewings. We were the farthest away from the first garden so a bit out on a limb. We saw around 60 people over the weekend and overall more than £1600 was raised for the hospice by the combined gardens visitors. We think most visitors enjoyed something about our garden and it was good to meet and chat with so many keen gardeners.
It all started in March
… when we agreed to open, then as we started planning, the enormity of finishing off where we could various projects and ensuring there would be something to see in all flower beds started to hit us – nothing like a deadline!
3 large builders bags of clippings and weeds went to the tip, 20 or so bags of rubbish and old pots too. Fences went up, paving got laid and workshops got their first lick of wood stain in 3 years.
A new raised bed was created out of builders rubble and demolition bonfire. We planted it out in late March. It’s started to fill out in the last few weeks, Californian Poppies sown then are now cheerfully in flower when the sun comes out. Small sprigs of nepeta pushed in in March now billow on one corner.
Trips to nurseries included, Bob Brown and Derry Watkins and internet purchases from Dorset Perennials, Beth Chatto and Puddle Plants to plug gaps (I also lost some favourite hardy plants such as Persicara amplexicaulis Alba over the winter which I wanted to replace). Getting veg seeds in earlier than normal and crossing fingers for no late frosts as more tender plants went out of the greenhouse to make way for the tomatoes and peppers. Watering more than I’ve done before (= more slugs and snails = more damage, where is the Thrush we used to have around when you need it?) And a couple of tons of mulch distributed although you wouldn’t know it!
The finish line
And there were and are still plenty of rough edges in our 3 year old garden. I still haven’t cleaned all the grass from under the hornbeam hedge and the mole has appeared in the new gravel paths in the veg plot. The wood had a cursory strim through and telltale lolloping strands of goosegrass were tidied off as much as possible. Ground Elder was strategically curtailed in places (we ran out of time to spray off) so green shoots are already coming through again.
It’s odd to suddenly be freed from under the cosh of getting the garden ready. If the rain stops soon there’s more roses to come, Great Western and a torrent of The Garland in an old apple tree are waiting in the wings. Lovely philadelphus Casa Azul by the pergola has a few tentative buds open so far. In the back garden begonias, fuchsias and dahlias are only just starting to get going, hopefully it’ll be a jungly riot of colour by August.
In the meantime there are irises to split and foliage can be cut down now to make way for fresh growth. Less weeding, less mowing, time to try and enjoy the show as it rolls on through the summer into autumn. (Oh, and the lovely task of wiping off as many poo covered lily beetle larva as I can from some of the lilies despite the huge number of parents I’ve squashed this year.)