The gardeners involved in having their gardens open had been working for weeks to make sure that all the plants were being shown off to the best advantage. Each of the gardeners had the chance of viewing all of the other gardens during the preceding week and so we could see the real treat that awaited the public on the Saturday and Sunday. The weekend or 8th and 9th July dawned fine and sunny, despite a weather forecast that threatened thunderstorms. Everything was ready
And so, the people came, in ones and twos, on both days, until gardens were filled with the buzz of conversation and people discussing the gardens and the ideas that they could use in their own garden. Both afternoons had their sessions abbreviated by deluges of almost biblical proportions, with visitors taking refuge inside houses. None-the-less, the afternoons were really enjoyable.
We estimate that somewhere near 300 people enjoyed the gardens and, looking back over the weekend, several of the 'gardeners' passed the following comments:-
"We both enjoyed a very successful weekend."
"A truly happy, enjoyable event and the heavens only opened towards the end. We met some lovely families, their dogs and children."
"I hope you all had as nice a time as we did. We had a garden full of laughter and chat which was so lovely."
"It was good to sit in the garden and listen to the bubble of animated conversation and laughter as people wandered round the garden and then enjoyed a cup of tea."
"Although I'm completely shattered (I was flying solo on Sunday as my friend couldn't make it); it was lovely to meet a variety of people of all ages who were genuinely interested in my garden (and its quirks.)...David Walker, who used to own the land, was pleased to see what I'd done with this patch. The highlights for me were being told I should be proud of myself and a young boy who must have only been about 6 and said "Thank You, Karen" in sign language. Brought tears to my eyes!"
The overall impression was that the weekend was a great success and deserves to be repeated, although this years' individual gardeners may appreciate a year or two 'off' before becoming involved again. If there are folk out there who would like to offer their gardens for a future event such as this, they could get in touch with me (01829 741172) and I will keep a list of potential volunteers.
We must not forget that the purpose of the weekend was to be a fund-raiser for our two Churches and the Woodland. Some gardens were able to offer refreshments and, between them, they raised £375.10. All gardens collected donations and the total here was £624.95 – a stunning amount. The overall amount raised was therefore £1,000.05 and thus each of the three: Tarvin St Andrew's Church, Tarvin Methodist Church and Tarvin Community Woodland Trust, have received £333.35. The charities had already each received the very generous sponsorship of £500 (with subsequent Gift Aid worth a further £125) from Simon Harding of William's Wood. In memory of his son, William, and so each charity should ultimately receive around £1,000 from the event.
It is always a joy to be part of an event which is clearly a "village event", and this was one such. There was such genuine pleasure and enthusiasm evident with people enjoying the gardens and meeting their friends. There were also folk from further afield; I talked to one couple who were travelling home to Somerset and just happened upon Tarvin Open Gardens. We must have made a good impression because they said that they are going to return for the Horticultural Show on August 12th!