Open Garden June 2006

We opened our garden for St. Christopher's Hospice again this year but chose a different time of the season - early June. With the cold wet May we'd had everything was a week or two later than "normal" but we were very lucky with the weather and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.

St. Christopher's raised £351.50 on the day. HSBC then generously matched (and rounded up) what was raised on the day so the total for the afternoon was £711.50. The team were really pleased.

Some of the flower photos and the views without people were taken a couple of days after the open day but give a good idea what our visitors could see.

The first people our visitors meet are members of the St Christopher's team with their stalls, raffle and entrance fee collection. Their tent is pitched in the front drive so this is what they can see.
Throughout the page I'll add a few pictures of some of the flowers that those wandering around the garden could see.

Going down the side of the garage to the back garden, the first thing to see was the pyracantha - not quite open but full of promise.

The patio's still no better than it was last year - scruffy and falling apart..... perhaps we'll have done something about it by next year!

The pineapple broom (in photo above) has done really well this year. Perhaps that's a lesson as I didn't prune it so hard this time around.

Down the ramp we go and into the main part of the garden.

The silver birch is the main feature in what we call the woodland garden - it's lovely in all seasons but it does tend to shed leaves, twigs and anything else it can think of - possibly because of the number of birds and squirrels etc that use it.

As you can see, our visitors had gone by the time we took this photo.

The lawn looked very different with people (and Briar the dog) on it.

colin Emilyand Briar

The tea and cake team from St Christopher's were well visited and kept very busy all afternoon.

Wandering off down the garden again - still on the right hand side. The alliums have done pretty well but I think we'll need to buy some more for next year to fill the bed again.
The lilac blooms are fading fast but the sweet peas on both sides of this path (can't quite see them on the photo) are growing like crazy so I'm hoping for a good show this year.
At the end of this path is the food garden where we've got pototates, carrots, beetroot, onions, leeks, beans and courgettes on the veg side and strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and rhubarb. The tomatoes grow in front of the shed in grow bags.
The pond is just beyond here. Lots of people seemed to enjoy sitting watching the fish or listening to the water - it sounded cooling on such a warm day.
The pond irises seem to grow very well - plenty of natural, organic fertiliser I suppose
The cotoneaster has been lovely this year with its white flowers. There are some astrantias coming into flower in this bed and a lovely old fashioned rose (just behind the people on the left!)
The hydrangea on the left is in the bed at the end of the garden, just beyond the food beds - I think this year is the best I've seen it so perhaps it liked the cold, wet May
I think most people had a good prowl around - some even asked me questions which, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't always have the answers to. I still don't know what type of acer the original one is but I think the small white bush in the woodland bed is a Deutzia.
Others found somewhere to sit and chat or watch the world go by ...
.. and yet others caught up with old friends and made new.
Back on track and a bit further round the garden ... the cotinus was showing off to its best advantage with lovely red leaves.
The spiraea is also showing off with lovely yellowy foliage and pink flowers. The ornamental grass is growing but still has a way to go yet!
Another major splash of red is provided by one of the acers
The mix of colours is what I love the best with the acid greens, yellows, pinks and reds against the more "normal" greens - a fantastic selection and nothing seems to clash in a garden.
The lupins seem to have done well this year, the purple one has lots of spires and the pink one seems perfectly formed. Maybe the cold May kept the greenfly at bay a bit longer (but I can't say the same for the slugs and snails!)
The gravel bed could be on its last year if we do the patio as planned but we are hoping not to lose too many of the plants so will have to move them of find a new home with someone else for them (or change our plans again).
At the top of the gravel bed, on the patio, we have various pots. A lot of them have fuschias in, others have geraniums - both overwintered reasonably successfully this year.
Back on the path and wandering towards the house. Believe it or not, there is a bench hiding in amongst the bushes on the right - one of the few shady places on the day so well used.
The hosta bed has also enjoyed the cooler, wetter weather in May (but definitely not the slugs and snails!) and is looking very healthy.
The nigella self seeds all over the place but the flowers are so pretty I don't mind at all
A few more general views of the garden ....
One addition to this year's open day was a plant sale. some of our neighbours and friends were very generous with their donations of plants and what we didn't sell went to the local church garden party the following week. We treated ourselves to a few irises to go with those we already have.
A final view of the garden - the Robinia (below) and the Indian Bean tree (nearer the gravel garden/patio) are leafing up nicely ready to provide some shade for Summer.
When all the humans had gone, our more usual visitors reappeared. The birds came to eat up any cake crumbs that were left and these two simply came to reclaim their territory. The squirrel took quite a while telling Wendy-Jo and me just how cross he was that we'd made his garden so busy that afternoon!

A big Thank You to everyone who supported us on the day either by coming along, providing plants, giving donations, taking photos or however else. The St Christopher's team were really pleased with the day and they estimate that about 120 people came through the gate. I dare say we'll be doing it all over again next year (if invited!) but that's it for 2006!

One final housekeeping note - if I have included a photo of anyone who would prefer not to see themselves on this page, please let me know by clicking through the contact button on the Main index Page.

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