Open the gates

2013 NGS Garden Open Day

Guilty as charged. Despite having an array of brilliant excuses that would surely get me out of detention and shiny stars on my report card, there is no doubt that I am guilty of the heinous crime of terrible blog neglect. My apologies to all the incensed blog nymphs, gremlins and fairies floating around in the ether… Fortunately for us, over two hundred NGS punters ignored my neglectful blog felony, and braved our tropical Oxfordshire weather conditions1 to come to the village NGS open gardens last sunday.

Opening as a village collective, one is fortunately spared the immense added pressure of the organisation and rationing of the all important lemon drizzle delectables, allowing one to enjoy the day and converse with the visitors. Future intending visitors need not panic, as the reviews of the quality of cake on offer at the Church house were such that even the astute Anne Wareham may have been tempted to partake…

Delighted not to have to repeat my now perfected ‘sitting in the rain at the gate’ routine, the sun shone on all our hard work (weeks of it I hastily add in an attempt to reduce blog neglect crime). Somewhat numbed from exhaustion, seeing your garden through the eyes of others is a rather useful exercise. Granted NGS open days are not habitually home to tumultuous critical debates on the execution of (good) garden design, nor do we open for that purpose, but it is always interesting to see which aspects of the garden draw interest and/or comment. At times rather frustrating as there was more often than not, no need to shed more blood, sweat and tears to get ‘that’ area sorted. Proud garden owners with repeat visitors, the repeaters provide encouraging reminders of improvements made, and help nudge one forward on projects that have yet to be completed, started, or even blogs that have yet to be written….

Numbers wise, our village open day is not one that will make the NGS enormously rich and ready for retirement, but we were all delighted to have sold 252 tickets this year2, raising (including teas and delectables) the grand total of £1631. Part of the proceeds are donated to the local hospice and the rest enriches the much needed coffers of the designated NGS charities.

Beat the crowds....
View from above: Walled garden
Herbaceous borders
Centranthus lecoqii and Allium atropurpureum
Neglected host: Only one NGS visitor brought her dog
Paeony border
Charles de Mills just coming into flower in rose walk
Paeonia lactiflora 'Sarah Bernhardt'
Vegetable & cutting flower patch
Fortuitously 2012 misplanted leeks: stars of 2013

Thank you to our kind friends, wielding an impressively shiny collection of hoes, trowels and rakes, for so generously helping to sort out the finishing touches the day before the open day, and a big thank you to the NGS, for focusing our attention on the garden (away from the blog), and advocating the completion of all those jobs that needed doing to a resultant garden that we too now enjoy.


  1. A superbly shiny 24° Celsius
  2. 179 tickets in 2012, 175 in 2011, 170 in 2011