Garden Blog - Blog Post

The Summer Wash-out


We’re well into summer now and I’m sat here wearing sweatpants, long sleeves and a dressing gown, trying to keep warm. It’s no secret that summer in the UK this year has been even more miserable, cold, wet and grey than it sometimes can be – and yes – that is bitterness in my tone.

Yep. Still raining.

Not being guaranteed to have at least a few days in a row of warm sunshine (we haven’t even managed an afternoon of it for over a month) has had a chilling effect on visitor numbers and enthusiasm for people to come and support us on NGS Open days. Continuously unsettled weather where the forecast for the same afternoon can sometimes be wrong means people just won’t book a visit if it’s showing a chance of rain, which it has been doing, almost every day.

Blackberries very, very slowly ripening

There was one recent Open Day where we were forced to clear out the greenhouse so we could shelter the teas and cakes (and people) under it while the rain bucketed down, sideways at times with the wind. The weather was truly vile that afternoon and only those who had pre-booked turned up – all en-masse during a brief break in the rain. We had less than half the number of visitors, but oddly managed to sell all 40 slices of cake while I was panicking that I had baked far too many.

Poor, snapped Zinnias from excessive snails and wet weather

There was sense of fun and camaraderie among the volunteers and the visitors that cold, wet afternoon. Strangers sat down and huddled together, chatting under the gazebo and in the greenhouse. The volunteer helpers were still cheerful and smiling despite getting increasingly wet and cold over the course of the afternoon (at least we were all well-prepared with waterproofs). It seems that hostile weather brings out the more eccentric side of people and while weather conditions are out of people’s control, their attitude towards how they want to experience the afternoon, isn’t.

The weather for our next and final NGS Public Open Day is looking similarly wet, but at least we know how to set up the garden for heavy rain (tip: you need far more towels than you think). The forecast might yet change but it rarely does for the better.

Full trugs of water from the greenhouse.

With the final public Open Day in sight and only a couple of private group visits shortly after, the end of the “open season” is not far away but thoughts and plans are already turning to NGS 2024. While we have had a spectacular opening year – weather considering – we do know that we want a little bit more of our summer time back so we’ll be reducing the number of public Open Days we do, down to perhaps three. The open days combined with poor weather means I haven’t been able to get as much garden maintenance done as I’d like and so there will be rather a lot of catch-up needed after the final group visit.

Rain on the Sand Cherry tree.

It felt barely a few blog posts ago that we were gearing up to open the garden for the first time and nervous about the catering, getting volunteers, setting out the seating and all the countless little things that go into preparing for visitors. Now – towards the end of the first year – we feel like veterans, having experienced large and small groups, sunny and atrocious weather. That hasn’t reduced the amount of work each time, we only become much more efficient at doing it.

While I look ahead to the next Open Day, I can only think what a learning experience it’s been – opening for the NGS this summer – and I’m also reminded of all the wonderful comments written into the guestbook by garden visitors. Incredibly positive comments about the garden and about the cakes, that help with the motivation to get over the bad weather.

stay up to date


Enter your email address to subscribe to the Garden Blog and stay notified when new posts are available.

catch up

Recent Posts

Don't miss these recent posts.

delve deeper

Garden Blog Archive

Peruse the full Garden Blog Archive going back over a decade.

Visit the Garden


Visit the Garden at 13 Broom Acres on National Garden Scheme Open Days and by arrangement

author & gardener

Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Jean 08/08/2023 - 9:50 pm

Sunil, We’ve been having much the same weather on this side of the pond. This year, I’ve learned a new weather term, “training,” which is when a line of storms sets up over a small area and just keeps raining and raining, inches per hour! I don’t ever remember flash floods in this part of Maine before, but they’ve almost become routine (along with washed out roads) this year. That was the weather we were having today — but at least, I’m not trying to open my garden to the public. This has certainly been a challenging gardening year (although my hydrangea plant is looking exceptionally happy!).

Sunil 14/08/2023 - 5:22 pm

Hello Jean, your weather has made it on our news, I hope you’re safe! Opening the garden while having to watch the weather forecast like a hawk doesn’t make things easy but the visitors that do brave it and come still seem to have a good time, even if they have to have their tea and cake huddled under the gazebo. I can see how it’s been a stunning year for hydrangeas, it makes up for how they suffered last year in the dry heat.


Blog Post Lucky Dip

Lose yourself in garden history with over a decade of blog posts to choose from.

neighbourhood explorer

Followed Blogs

Here's a favourite list of blogs that I love to curl up with a cup of tea, slice of cake and have a good read.

stay notified

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Garden Blog and stay notified when new posts are available.

email address policy

Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you email updates to notify you of new blog posts. It will not be sold to third parties nor used for advertising or other marketing purposes.

© Sunil Patel. All rights reserved