As some of you will know, we are opening the garden for the National Garden Scheme tomorrow, the first time we have opened in February. It has been a pleasure to be able to share the garden with a wider audience in June for the last three years, and we wanted to share the joys of our winter treasures too. Having prepared a checklist of things to look out for that might be flowering, I was surprised to find this amounted to around 40 different species, with several different snowdrops, hellebores and witch hazels giving a further boost to numbers. Some may just be in bud and others past their best, but this will inevitably vary from year to year – this year the snowdrops are at their peak, the hellebores almost so, but the witch hazels are almost over due to the mild winter, with other species on a similar spectrum. As well as these, there are the foliage plants and other evergreens that provide a permanent structure to the garden.
We were congratulated a week ago for not having chosen last weekend to open, thus avoiding storm Ciara, and had been monitoring the weather forecast as it changed from day-to-day, when out of the blue (and there have been some lovely days this week with startlingly blue skies) we are informed of a new and equally unwelcome visitor: Dennis. Due to visit today and tomorrow, he promised to bring high winds and plenty of rain with him. There has been some rain today, but not a lot, and some windy gusts but we are fairly sheltered here, especially when winds are from the south and south west as they are now. We would only have cancelled the opening if we were covered in snow, so the weather tomorrow and its effect on visitor numbers are out of our control (although we have had a few phonecalls and emails to check if we are still opening) – but everything in our control is ready and waiting for whoever turns up…
The pop-up café, normally the ‘back sitting room’ except on Thursdays when it Grannie’s Nursery, is emptied of its usual furniture and kitted out appropriately:
Plates and cups are other paraphernalia have come down from the loft in readiness:
Information labels for the plant stall have been printed and laminated, ready to be popped into the pots tomorrow. For this February opening it is mostly bulbs for sale, with a few larger plants that are surplus to requirements.
I am very thorough with my notices, and there are several waiting to be hammered into place tomorrow, giving information about various parts of the garden, particularly the ’empty’ beds. This and other last-minute tasks are all that is left to do (with getting the cakes out of the freezer first thing in the morning a priority); meanwhile, the garden is looking tidy and presentable after its recent wash and brush up and doing what comes naturally, bobbing about and looking pretty. Roll on tomorrow evening!
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