The World Cup Effect?

Rather than wait till the three group visits in July are out of the way I thought I would give you a brief update of how the garden openings went. As I had to scoot off to see Elder Daughter first thing on Monday (and had been on call to head in the other direction to my Mum’s later this week too), it is really only today that the Golfer and I have had the opportunity to sit down together and talk about how things went.

You can see from the above photo, taken on the Sunday, and the earlier Wordless Wednesday one, that both days were hot, dry and sunny, and with the advance forecast pretty confident that this would be the case so that was one less thing to think about. Everything was organised, ready and waiting on both days and there were only minor hiccups before opening – struggling to open the barrier at the local village hall for helpers’/overflow parking, misplacing the key fob sometime between Wednesday and Sunday for our neighbours’ electronic gates to access our main parking (thankfully found – much later!), and another neighbour helpfully avoiding our Sunday opening by choosing to take the render off his house on Saturday instead, covering pots, plants, paving, windows and vehicles outside our house in dust and pieces of masonry….hey ho!

Last year we had the ‘novelty value’ of being open for the first time, but in any year there is no way of truly estimating how many people might visit, although I was fortunate that our local paper published a full-page illustrated spread about the opening, an unexpected improvement on the 3 or 4 lines the event was given last year! My personal target was to raise more money for the NGS than I did last year and I dithered for some time about the percentage of plants and refreshment to give to my local charity, which I still wanted to do. I am pleased to say that with the three group visits I should still achieve this, although I was disappointed with the number of visitors on Sunday. On Wednesday, we had visitors non-stop from the moment we opened with a total of 63 altogether, half as many again as on the Wednesday in the previous year. I was therfore hopeful for a similar increase in numbers on the Sunday but the latter, it turned out, had to compete with open gardens at our neighbouring village and, more importantly, England playing in the World Cup!

There was definite lull in the afternoon so there were times when my helpers (twice as many as on Wednesday) were left twiddling their thumbs, and by the end of the day we had received a further 63 visitors whereas I had been hoping for over 100. We think it was probably more the football that kept people away, as there are always several village gardens open at this time of year. Two of our visitors had opened their garden for the NGS for the first time this year – on Royal Wedding day – and numbers were low, and this and the football are just two of the things we have no control over, like the weather. Rainy days would definitely keep visitors away too, and we are fortunate to have been blessed with good weather both years so far but need to be aware that there will be continue to be uncertainties every year we open.

All we can do is to make sure everything is organised and prepared and see who turns up, so I must put aside my initial disappointment and be thrilled that all those who did visit enjoyed doing so and made positive comments about the garden – and that we raised a healthy sum of money for charity. I shall write more about these openings once our group visits are over and we can begin to get the house back to normal, dismantling our ‘pop-up café’ in the back sitting room and returning all our NGS stuff to the loft until next year.

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30 Responses to The World Cup Effect?

  1. bcparkison says:

    I’m sure everyone enjoyed the beauty of your garden.

  2. langleyae says:

    Fabulous! Your participation continues to inspire (especially me!), increased attendance or no! I finally got around to doing my blog with pics from my ‘open day’ way back in April because I was so looking forward to hearing your ‘report’ after this year’s opening & I felt guilty not having done an ‘after’ for mine 🙂 Thanks again!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thanks so much for your kind words – I will write more later. I have learned from and picked the brains of others who have opened so I like to feed back in the hope others find it helpful. Will pop over and see yours now

  3. I had been wondering how you you fared on the Sunday Cathy. I think that you have probably hit the nail on the head about the World Cup factor. I remember attending a village garden trail a good few years back, which clashed with England playing in the World Cup and numbers were most definitely down on what the organisers were expecting. Fancy wanting to stay in on such a beautiful day and watch 22 men kick a ball around! Still I’m sure that garden and cake were most thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by all those who did visit. Well done you and The Golfer on all your hard work to make it happen and for the sum you’ve raised for charity to date. I hope that you have a less busy week ahead of you.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna, I am pretty sure they were! And time consuming the preparation might be, but it it is so enjoyable and worthwhile. Finally got some downtime on Friday – but then as I rambled slowly round the garden… well, you know how it is… ! 😀

  4. Brian Skeys says:

    You never know what is going to happen on the date when you plan an open garden. Our open weekend is the same as the Queens Birthday, our village decided to hold a party on the green to celebrate when she was 90 which I don’t think helped our numbers that weekend. I didn’t blame the Queen!

  5. What a feat! And a great turnout considering the circumstances.. I think you’re very brave to open every year! It can take over your life with the run up and organisation of the teas and parking. I take my hat off to you. I’m yet to blog about our open day! We simply haven’t stopped, more so now we have our puppy.. can’t believe it’s July on Sunday!!
    Take care xx

  6. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Such a lot of work, done with a great deal of good will. I’m glad it turned out well, Cathy, and that you had good weather for it. I’m sure your garden visitors thoroughly enjoyed their visits.

  7. Ali says:

    It looks like you did a sterling job, Cathy! Do you get to choose the dates for openings? I have wondered about doing too, but am not sure if there are already enough open gardens near us in June-Aug and whether NGS would want dates outside of this.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh Ali, do give it some thought and ring your NGS organiser soon as they like to ‘inspect’ your garden at the time of year you would want to open, which really is up to you (and, if included, all details need to be submitted by early September). They should be friendly and help you with aspects you might not have thought of, like public safety and parking. And do contact me if you want any more information

  8. Beth says:

    What an exciting story, Cathy — wonderful that so many people visited your garden even on World Cup day! Hope you have a chance to rest after the work and stress. Best, -Beth

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thank you, Beth – it certainly seems quite strange to have ‘free’ time now! The first group visit is over a week away and then the other two are a week later so I can be a ittle more restful for a few days yet!

  9. Renee says:

    Glad to hear everything went well, even if the world cup got in the way! Good luck with the 3 group visits although it seems like you have everything down to a science now. And who wouldn’t enjoy the beauty of your garden?

  10. tonytomeo says:

    When we did our Open House events at the farm, those of us who worked in production dreaded the arrival of guests. We were a production nursery! We were not set up for such events. We did farm work, not directing traffic or parking cars. Yet, it was somehow fun, and we did enjoy showing off the bloom that otherwise gets ignored.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, there are unexpected pleasures from opening, Tony, and we certainly find that all our helpers enjoy it too and look forward to doing it again another year

  11. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I am sure everyone enjoyed your garden. Football is high on a lot of people’s priority list. Hopefully there will be more people at the next viewing now that England is out of it.

  12. Cathy, I am very happy that you were 63 visitors to your garden, even if you played England in the World Cup. The opening of your garden is being a success, and the 3 groups of July are still missing. I wish you to collect a lot of money for charity NGS: you have a big heart doing this. I hope that nothing happens to your mother and your eldest daughter and they are in good health. Take care. Greetings from Margarita.

  13. Definitely the World Cup effect and perhaps even the weather was too nice?when it’s that hot people can’t be bothered to go out enjoying their own gardens perhaps.
    I am pleased your local paper made more of an effort this time. Yikes what a lot of work. I have spent today dispatching posters. Quick cuppa now before I start on the garden again

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