It is always very pleasing when someone phones and invites you to visit their garden with a view to opening for the NGS and hopefully being included in the wonderful yellow book.
So the other day I grabbed fellow volunteer Graham (a serious horticulturist and garden owner) and we took up the invitation to visit my second garden of the year.
You may think January is not the best time to judge a garden; however this is when you can see the backbone and get a real sense of the structure. There is no distraction of how good someone else’s rose might be whilst yours is struggling, or whether you are overwhelmed by the dislike of a colour or a plant which might be filling the borders. This is the time when each area is stripped down to the minimum and the harmony and overall design is clearly revealed.
The garden owners were very keen to open. It was a neat garden. They planned to have chickens and a few animals; however it was small which should not necessarily prevent it being in the scheme but it was also rather short on interest.
We suggested visiting the next door neighbour’s garden and they were keen but even combined, the gardens did not really seem up to the mark to be open to the public. Then there was the huge problem of nowhere to park plus the difficult access onto a very busy main road. Teas it was suggested, could be served in the small summerhouse; however what if there is a cloudburst, and you have to remember that this for some visitors is the most important part of the garden.
It is a tricky moment when you have to say thank you, but no thank you. Many might perceive this as a rejection. I would like to call it a postponement. We departed amicably, a garden not quite ready for opening and reiterating the advice to keep on gardening and visiting other gardens.