This is not how I meant to start the year. I have dropped the ball and started to fall by the wayside. But I had a very good excuse. I somewhat foolishly decided it would be a good idea to open up my garden to the general public so they could see what I had done. I had no real plan – a sort of ‘invite them and they will come’ and ‘she’ll be right’ philosophy. So the open day was advertised on Facebook and in the pages of Kiwi Gardener Magazine.
Then I threw myself into sorting out the garden. It was in a bit of a post-holiday state. Since I took on my handy helper in May last year, the garden has pretty much constantly been in restore mode because somehow it got a little out of control. It would seem the opposite of do a little and do it often quickly escalate even the most orderly garden into a state of complete disorder. For a while there I didn’t think we’d get there, it seemed like there was too much to do. And I needed to allow time to rest so my MS didn’t rear its ugly head and overwhelm me.
It was a massive effort, but we got there. The day before the visit I was able to pack away all of the tools and stand back and admire a lovely garden that I’ll happily share with others. To mark this rare occasion when the garden is at its best, we threw the drone up and took a photo. One I should probably print out and frame as a reminder of what is possible should it get out of control again – which it could and probably would.
For now, going forward it is easy maintenance. With the sector system, where the garden is divided into 5 groups, at this point it only takes minutes to tend to a sector of 7 or so raised beds. There is a lot of kitchen gardening in my future as I held back on the harvesting so there would be things to see in the garden. No one wants to see a garden of bare earth and told ‘you should have been here last week, this is where there was an abundant crop of x,y and z!’
I honestly didn’t know what to expect with the open day. I thought maybe 30 people – 40 at a push! But we happily greeted many, many more than that. We were so busy we forgot to count people and we forgot to take photos. I had the Teen Lad directing traffic, Hubby the Un-Gardener managing parking, for which he seems to have a hidden talent for, as we were about one car short of a parking crisis! My wonderful Mother-in-Law was serving cups of tea, and my Handy Helper was greeting people at the garden gate and inviting them to join the tour.
I wasn’t sure how the day would pan out, but I ended up starting at the point of the garden closest to the gate and making my way around the garden. As people arrived they joined the tour and were advised that when I seemed to be repeating myself they had reached the end of their tour – sort of like a hop on and off tour bus, and they should head on down to see the ocean view and have a cuppa tea. Every time I looked up it seems like there were different people in front of me with the size of the group expanding from a few to a lot.
As we wandered the garden with me explaining everything and offering hints and tips and answering questions along the way, it took about an hour to do a full circuit. Most people had travelled for almost an hour so I didn’t want their travel time to be longer than the visit! The weather was magnificent and everyone seemed happy enough and I ended up going around the garden five times – chit chatting the whole time, with my Handy Helper handing me regular drinks and enforcing a lunch break half way through. I have to admit I was a little exhausted at the end and a touch sunburnt in places I forgot to apply sunscreen!
It was a little like being a bride at a wedding, as much as I hate to say it, I was – after the garden itself, the centre of attention for the day and people had come far and wide – some folk had travelled 2 and a half hours to come and see the garden. But like a bride on a wedding day, there is very little time or opportunity to really talk to the guests and gardeners are the nicest people and I would have loved to have sat and had a good chat with all of them.
As much as there were a lot of people in attendance there were many more who couldn’t come so I made a virtual video tour of just what it would have been like if they had been there in person. It is a little long, but I wanted it to feel like people weren’t missing out.
I must be a little crazy because the next day I was discussing how we would improve things for NEXT TIME! It was a huge undertaking, but I will most likely do it again at some point so folk can see my wonderful garden as it is wasted on just us looking at it – especially me – I just see what needs to be done!
Come again soon – for now it is just me and my well maintained garden.
Sarah the Gardener : o)