It’s been quiet on this blog but it’s been rather frantic in the garden. After the previous aftermath from the first ever Open Garden event under the National Garden Scheme – a private visit from a local Gardening Group – we’ve just had our first public Open Day on Saturday 10th June.
We’re still sort-of clearing up and recovering from it, while also preparing for a garden scouting visit on Monday afternoon and then a private group visit on Wednesday. The local Residents Association Magazine published a whole page interview on the garden and Horticulture Magazine separately published an interview online too.
You can read the Horticulture magazine interview here: https://horticulture.co.uk/features/sunil-patel/
Oh – last week we also held the annual Plant Sale on our front drive on behalf of the local Gardening Club. It was a fantastic morning for it and as usual, very busy. We had a a great deal of stock but did have lots of tomato plants and chilli seedlings left over at the end (we always do), as well as a few perennials, but most of those went after posting the “Great Plant Giveaway” on local Facebook groups. I asked for discretionary donations for those that could and many people were very generous.
All this extra stuff has me behind in the usual gardening jobs like planting out and dead-heading and I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up on those after this current busy period blows over. I’m also hoping we might have had some rain by then as well, as there are large cracks in the border soil and the surface has set harder than concrete.
The public event had a lot more unknowns to deal with than the group visit – mainly because of the semi-random nature of it, questions with no answers like:
- How many will turn up?
- When will they turn up?
- Will they eat cake?
- Is that forecast thunderstorm going to happen?
Played a big part in the anxiety around catering. I mean, how many cakes do I bake if I don’t know how many people are coming and how many out of those will buy them to eat and/or for takeaway? While we had a pre-booking system with timed slots, most people came early anyway and up to 20% of visitors paid at the gate (no pre-booking). Interesting statistics to be kept in mind for future events.
I made six cakes the day before, then decided to do an “emergency” coffee and pecan cake (as one does) on the morning so there was even less chance of running out.
It turns out that I had over-catered. With each cake cut into ten (generous) slices, we did eventually manage to sell 65 pieces and that was only after heavily plugging the takeaway option and imposing ourselves on the neighbours by going door-to-door selling the leftovers. Some of those neighbours – who shall remain nameless – seemed far more relieved to have this unique delivery service suddenly appear, than they otherwise let on.
We had around 55-60 visitors over the course of the afternoon and the weather – while hot at times – wasn’t too overbearing. Parasols and a gazebo kept much of the direct heat off the patio and prevented it from becoming an open-air hot-stone cooker. There was always a part of the garden in shade too and many people spent time just sitting and chatting on the various benches and bistros placed about the garden.
As usual, I don’t have any “action” shots of the day, we tasked that to someone else but we haven’t had chance to transfer copies of the images just yet.
In the meantime, I just wanted to post this update before too much time elapses. If you’re local and weren’t able to make it to the Open Day we just had, we have several more over the Summer so we’ll hopefully see you at one or more of those and you can tell us which one you like better: the garden or the cake.