Never Mind the Weather, Never Mind the Rain

Never mind the weather, never mind the rain
Now that we’re together, whoops she goes again
La-di-da-di-da, la-di-da-di-de
All good pals and jolly good company

I gave up looking at the weather forecast for the day of our garden opening because there was nothing we could do to make it any different, and we duly had the anticipated rain, all day – but never mind the weather, never mind the rain, we had 45 people turn up regardless of it and spend around £460 between them, all good pals and jolly good company!

Not surprisingly, we were thrilled, with the result exceeding any expectation we might have had (no point in having an expectation, as we can never be sure how many people will visit), especially in view of the inclement weather – and not dissimilar visitor numbers to those of an average June opening, either. There were both repeat visitors and first-timers, all vowing to return in June ‘to see the roses’, with a fair sprinkling of plantspeople amongst them. Just as in a warmer and generally drier June, all but a handful of visitors wandered round the garden, had their tea and cake in the café (which popped up as usual in our ‘back sitting room’) or sitooterie, then wandered round the garden again, many lingering to admire or discuss certain plants.

Turning heads in particular was the lovely pink pussy willow, Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’, shown at the start of this post, and the three rooted cuttings I potted up from Monday vase leftovers were snapped up. I did not have many plants for sale, just half a dozen named snowdrops and a number of pots of the natives, a few Iris reticulata and two young winter honeysuckle, but everything except one of the latter sold, giving me the confidence to increase the number and variety of plants available at future February openings. One definite addition will be sarcococca, its fragrance wowing visitors even on a damp and cool day, and which I believe should root easily – and cornus too, also easy to propagate.

It’s quite probable that mid-February may always test the flowering longevity of my witch hazels (above, Hamamelis ‘Strawberries and Cream’), although a handful were not quite yet on the wane and could give our visitors an idea of just how valuable a winter-flowering shrub they are. Despite my reservations, the native snowdrops, although later than most years, were dutifully carpeting the woodland edge border and other quasi-woodland areas, lacking only sun to open fully, and it’s easy to forget how quickly crocus appear as if from nowhere, disguising themselves as blades of grass until their goblets fill and colour – perfect timing! Opening in February means I can unselfishly share the seasonal delights of the garden, giving visitors an insight into the wide range of plants that can bring interest to a late winter garden, and this mission was undoubtedly accomplished on Sunday.

Opening your garden for charity really focusses the mind and ensures outstanding jobs in the garden get done; 2022 is our sixth year of opening (second February opening) and we feel like old hands, well-organised with a stash of props stored in the loft, and willing friends to help out on the day. The latter were especially welcome this time as the Golfer is still poorly and very much kept a back seat during the proceedings, only popping out briefly when he felt up to it, generally to speak to visitors he knew. I am not a worrier, and although his absence was a concern there was no need to cancel the event as everything was in place and set to go – the right decision, raising £460 for charity, mostly the National Garden Scheme. Your interest and best wishes over recent weeks have been gratefully received and mean a lot to me – thank you each and everyone.

nb photos were taken on a brighter but windier day today

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24 Responses to Never Mind the Weather, Never Mind the Rain

  1. bcparkison says:

    Looks like “someone” was glad for it to be over. ….Glad the day turned out well and hope the Mr. is better.

  2. Pádraig says:

    Congratulations Cathy. Well done!

  3. Heyjude says:

    Sorry to hear that the Golfer is unwell, I hope he feels better soon. A good turnout for your opening and I can see why that pussy willow was a hit, it’s beautiful.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Jude, it has been a slow process for the Golfer…🙁 It was such a good day, and garden visitors are generally such lovely people. One of them has now booked for her U3A group to come in June

  4. Rosie Amber says:

    Sounds like it did pretty well. Congratulations.

  5. Pauline says:

    Well done Cathy, I’m so glad the public still came in spite of the weather, I was thinking of you on Sunday! Sorry to hear that the Golfer is still poorly, hope he recovers soon. Your snowdrops are looking wonderful.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw, thanks for thinking if us on Sunday, Pauline, and for your kind wishes for the Golfer. It may have been wet, but everyone, visitors and helpers alike enjoyed the afternoon, so I am well pleased

  6. Cathy says:

    I am glad people still turned out in numbers despite the weather and it sounds like it was a great success! Is the Lanky Lodger taking a bow? 😉 It is worrying to hear that the Golfer is still unwell. My best get well wishes to him.

    • Cathy says:

      Haha, yes, the LL waited till everyone had gone before I found him in this pose…not sure if it is a bow or final note of despair. The Golfer is due a scan soon, because as yet the root cause of his unwellness is unknown

  7. Going Batty in Wales says:

    That is a very good result for a day of horrible weather. Now maybe you can relax a bit. I hope the Golfer recovers quickly.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    So glad your planning and efforts were rewarded with excited visitors despite the weather. The snowdrops and crocus make quite a good show and the little pots of iris are beautiful. Best healing wishes for your Golfer.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Susie – it’s a relatively easy way to raise money for charity, opening the garden and providing tea and cake, and very British!

  9. Well done you! Your garden looks gorgeous! I especially like the pink pussy willows.

  10. Anna says:

    Oh I’m so glad that the day went well for you Cathy after all the hard work you both have put in to making it a success. The comments in your visitor’s book complete with raindrops are a lovely memory of the day and a testament to your garden.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Anna – I thought about trying to iron the pages flatter, but perhaps it does add to the picture the comments make. I really was thrilled with the outcome, and especially pleased that new visitors and a group visit came out of it 😊

  11. Well done, Cathy! That is an impressive number, with many things against you! You’ve certainly got some lovely things to share. I love that line of coloured dogwood. Simple and effective!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Allison – I would normally provide a list of things to look out for for a Feb opening but the list would have disintegrated in visitors’ hands! When I first compiled it even I was surprised how many different things might be in flower or of interest, and I planted everything! I was especially thorough in cutting back the cornus last year to encourage a better shape, so they perhaps haven’t as many stems as before, so I am pleased they still look striking – and of course it will pay off in the longer run

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