Members Open Garden – A Personal View
During August I looked at the garden and wondered what on earth had made me offer to open the garden to Hardy Plant Society members in September. This year wild life had done its worst! A Muntjac deer had deposited its baby underneath the paeonies, rabbits abounded throughout the garden, slugs had eaten practically all the Nicotiana which usually add colour to the garden later in the year. As for mice, I had spied them eating the clematis and set a couple of traps. Within half an hour I had caught two and another two were caught later the same day. In less than three weeks we caught 81 mice at various points around the garden where we had found evidence of their nibbling. Even the yucca had been attacked.
Come September I was beginning to feel a bit better. The Cosmos were flowering, Michaelmas daisies just starting, and some of the shrubs were beginning to have a bit of an autumn tinge. At least the lawn was still green. Usually on our very free draining soil it is biscuit coloured in September. Sunday of the opening dawned grey and rather chilly, but by two o’clock the sun was just beginning to show as the first visitors arrived.
I need not have worried as I discovered that opening the garden for fellow Hardy Plant members is not about showing an immaculate, beautiful plot. It is about having the opportunity to chat about the merits, problems, beauty or otherwise of everything that is happening in the garden with like-minded people. And having done that, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea and piece of cake in the afternoon sun.
So do please think about opening your garden, large or small, to fellow members. It really was an enjoyable experience, hopefully not just for me but for those who visited as well.
Members Open Garden – A Visitor’s View
Edwina’s garden is the first HPS Members Open Garden that my husband, Bill, and I have attended. Often, National Garden Scheme openings are crowded affairs with people milling about, monopolising the garden owner and hogging all the available seats. The Members Open Garden is quite a different experience, more like a gathering at a friend’s house.
Edwina and Julian were very welcoming and the garden was still showing a lot of colour despite the lack of rain recently. I was impressed by the depth and scale of the borders, which were large and generously planted without feeling over-stuffed. It’s always fascinating to see the garden of someone who has a keen eye and a good knowledge of plants, and I found myself taking notes on several occasions. Edwina and Julian have lived at Bromley hall for 50 years – during the early years, they planted an arboretum which has matured beautifully. There’s also a lot of large, structural topiary which provides a green backdrop to the summer borders and colour during winter months.
After touring the garden we all sat down with tea and cake (excellent lemon drizzle, Edwina!) and talked plants, as you might expect. Bill and I will certainly be going to a Member’s Open Garden again and I’d recommend other members to give it a try. It combines the stimulation of fresh ideas that come from seeing a new garden with the company of like-minded people, and that essential component – delicious refreshments.