Next wednesday is our first opening for the NGS so I thought that rather than pick out six individual items I’d go with six viewpoints. When visiting gardens there are always going to be things that have just gone over and things that aren’t quite open yet; the sense that last week or next week would have been better. We have a few bookings but expect most people to leave it late so they know what the weather is doing.
Today we have rain forecast, which would freshen things up nicely. We’ve missed all the storms that the rest of southern England has had this week and have been watering frantically.
This is not a viewpoint that any of our visitors will experience, being the one I get from the bedroom window. It’s the view from which we primarily do our overall assessments of how it’s looking. Most of the pictures I take from here are morning shots but if it’s sunny in the morning golden hour, there are a lot of shadows. Evening works much better.
The view from the back door is almost the first view our visitors will get; they will be coming round the side of the house rather than through it, but end up in the same place. It’s pretty much the same angle as the upstairs window but from ground level. I don’t want our visitors to see it at its best since that is between seven and half past in the evening and I want them gone by then. Much of the colour is coming from foxgloves, geraniums and aquilegias which will will not only have finished flowering in a week or two but will have been removed altogether.
The slightly higher level of the main garden can be reached in three ways but we anticipate most people will go up these steps, from the top of which, should they be eight feet tall, they will get a view over almost the entire garden.
If our visitors look back around the halfway point, this may be what they see. A picture tells but a fraction of the story, the viewpoint carefully chosen to hide the unwanted bits and line up the wanted bits in a pleasing way. Will it be sunny or dull? The photographers will book the last slot of the day, not two o’clock when the sun is still high.
Sue’s glasshouse will be a highlight for most people. Cactus flowers are short lived; this is not a flower show where the exhibitor has picked 50 flowering plants from their stock of 5000. We considered printing off pictures of some of them but it’s a bit of a palaver. The Ensete will get planted out if it’s not windy, it’s gradually recovering from its last outing.
Our guests will finally make it to the furthest point and perhaps sit on the seat to take stock of whether they have had their money’s worth. Unless I get an opportunity to tell them, they will be unaware that they are sitting where, until a year ago, the polytunnel stood. The planting here is all new, all things that will make a quick impact, so Dahlias, lots of annuals, Salvias, Penstemons, Alstroemeria. One Dahlia has a flower but the area needs a few more weeks to hopefully become spectacular and a few more years to mature.
There are of course many more viewpoints; the front garden, the shade area and others; but that’s most of it. It’s not the work preparing the garden that I find exhausting but the feeling of exposure. Exposure to criticism, to theft, to damage. Hopefully all will go well and later openings will be less stressful. We’re lunching with our partner garden (the two open as one) tomorrow; we can wind each other up even more.
What with much to do and long light evenings, saturday sixes are harder to follow, but if our energetic, athletic leader, the Propagator, can do it, I for one have no excuse.