I promised an update about our garden openings and I am pleased to say that over two afternoon openings and a group visit we raised just over £1070, £840 of which will go to the National Garden Scheme charities and £114 to a local charity I am involved with, and the remainder taken as expenses.
There were 49 visitors on the Wednesday and 46 on the Sunday, and although initially a little disappointed with the Sunday figures which one might expect to be higher than midweek, there could of course be any of a number of reasons why it wasn’t. The Golfer is still apprehensive about whether we will get any visitors at all, but my fear is that we have more than we can cope with, as parking is limited! In our six years of opening, numbers have ranged from 30-60 per day, thus making this year pretty average – and having had over 40 visitors earlier this year for the February opening on a dismally wet day, it is clearly a matter of just welcoming whoever turns up!
The midweek opening was blessed with warm sunshine, but it was overcast and a little breezy at the weekend. Our single group visit, for the first time taking place before the main openings, was also warm and sunny, but thankfully not held the following day when temperatures topped 30°! When the visit was booked, by a visitor attending the February opening, numbers were estimated to be around 20; when the organiser confirmed the final details a couple of days before, that number had risen to ‘at least’ 30, prompting the rapid arrangement of extra support for refreshments and the use of our neighbours’ schoolyard for parking.
In our sixth year, we are now essentially taking things in our stride each time, lifting down signs and boxes of crockery and cushions from the loft, emptying the room that acts as the pop-up cafe and refilling it with tables and chairs, rearranging the kitchen and checking the availability of our usual helpers – and baking all the cakes, of course, ensuring there is more than enough to avoid running out! Plants for the plant stall are built up during the year from cuttings, division and seed, and are a good source of income (£250 this year). It does all take commitment and a degree of effort, but is hugely enjoyable, a sentiment shared by our helpers and, I believe, our visitors, as the comments book testifies.
Above all, it is good to be able to share the pleasure we get from the garden and, with no visitors expected since the end of June, it is now a little strange having it all to ourselves again, as previously we have had group visits booked in July. However, after a brief respite other than deadheading roses, my scheming has clicked into gear again and I am beginning to plan subtle changes – no surprise there!