Six on Saturday – 19/6/2021

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.

One.
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.

Two.
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.

Three.
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.

Four.
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.

Five.
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.

Six.
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.

34 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 19/6/2021

  1. I love the view from the steps, there is so much in the garden I am sure you will have lost your voice by the end of the day explaining everything. Have a glorious day and a good evening’s relaxation after it!

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    1. I’m ready for questions, the group we had the week before last were somewhat incurious, which can make striking up a conversation a little awkward. My default mode is taciturn, but get me started on plants and I’ll talk for England.

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    1. I’m fairly confident that at the least, it will exceed expectations. Visitors will come up our nondescript housing estate road, past the rusting dead car one side and the front garden car park on the other, up our broken concrete drive with the tiny front garden, along the side of the house past the wheelbarrow and shredder, into a different and unexpected oasis.

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  2. It is looking ‘Visitor’ ready Jim, and I am sure each and every one will go home full of admiration and tips for their own.

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    1. I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that most people see gardens in a series of views, unlike me, who sees them as hundreds of separate plants. Not exclusively in either case, but primarily. For me a plant growing well is in the right place, almost without regard to colour, texture or whatever.

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  3. The garden looks ready for the NGS ! And it’s true that the greenhouse is the highlight to finish. I hope you will have lots of people coming and that the weather will be good… Result next Saturday

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    1. I’m going to want to point out everyone that there was a polytunnel there just a year ago because there’s little evidence of it left. It’s still in one of the pictures on the NGS website. Pictures, I must print off a few pictures.

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  4. Good luck for the opening, depending on the weather I may pop by, or leave it until one of the other dates. Do you have a one way system in place and social distancing markers then? 😉 At least I won’t need to take photographs as I can always look at your blog.

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    1. Ha! You nearly had me going there! Perhaps I should print off a QR code and stick it by the gate, it’d get people talking. You’re always welcome if you’re up this way. NGS rules permit visits by arrangement outside of published dates too.

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  5. Your visitors are in for a treat as everything is looking wonderful. I wish I could come but it is rather long way from Suffolk. We have had torrential rain here which has flattened everything just when it is looking its best. I have a garden club visit next week but I’m struggling to get ready, was there ever such a year for weeds? But it doesn’t seem to be a problem in your garden. Not a weed in sight.

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    1. It’s looking like we’re going to get a day of gentle rain today and a sunny one tomorrow and on wednesday when we open. Someone’s god must be smiling upon us. Plenty of dry weather has been a big help for keeping on top of weeds and we don’t have real nasties like bindweed or ground elder, mercifully.

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  6. Your visitors will be bowled over Jim – everything is looking fabulous. It’s funny reading that you thought of printing off photos as I thought of doing the same. In the end I did print off a view of old views of the garden from when the house was first built and put them in the greenhouse. People do like a before and after.

    I’d love to find out more about opening for the NGS. I did mine for the hospice I volunteer for as I knew the money could go directly to them. The NGS support many hospices via Hospice UK of course. I guess the NGS marketing programme helps to drum up visitors. Good luck and if I were in Cornwall I would be there like a shot!

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    1. I was thinking about photos of the cacti in particular that mostly won’t be flowering; there are dozens out today and they’ll all be over by wednesday. Old garden photos i hadn’t thought to do, but they might be of interest to some, the transformation is massive.
      The NGS cover publicity and insurance, which are both tricky otherwise. If you ever do get to Cornwall, you’d be most welcome any time.

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  7. The garden is looking wonderful and the glasshouse especially so.

    It is so sad that you have to think of damage and theft when you allow visitors into your garden. We were asked, at the very last minute, to allow our garden to be listed with a group of local gardens which had formed a “garden trail” as one member had to drop out unexpectedly. We absolutely hated the experience and have never repeated it – except for a charity event one year.

    Best wishes for your open days!

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    1. The pity of it is that a single bad incident would trump a whole series of openings that went like clockwork. I shall be viewing anyone carrying a bag with deep suspicion and hating myself for doing so.

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  8. That is cool that you can host a tour like that, and that your garden is adaptable to entertaining. I suppose the best gardens are. Utilitarian gardens are not so much fun in that regard. (and some of us would most definitely not want anyone else in our gardens!)

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    1. I wouldn’t describe our garden as adaptable to entertaining, the only entertainment is the garden itself. Hopefully the people turning up will be happy with that. Garden openings often seem to get treated as a nice place to sit down with a cup of tea and cake, but since that’s not on offer we shouldn’t get that particular demographic.

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      1. Oh, I did not consider the ‘practicality’ of entertaining as much as how interesting it would be to guests. There is more variety within a small area there than I had in nearly nine acres. My garden is very utilitarian, so would not be so interesting to guests. Actually, the landscapes at work are far more interesting, and prettier.

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  9. Everything is looking splendid, Jim, the visitors will be delighted. I’m late responding, and by now you will have had your first open day. I hope it went well and that the weather was kind to you.

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    1. All went very well, lots of very nice people who said very nice things and seemed to enjoy themselves. The weather was perfect too, so we got off to a flyer. The next one is sunday and the weather looks like it might turn against us for that. They’ll be fine if they bring a brolly.

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