Garden Blog - Blog Post

Flaming NGS Success in a Not-so Flaming June


It’s been a few weeks and the persistent rain has quietened down to the occasional shower but it still isn’t really that warm. If it was mid-May then it would be great, but we’re a little past that now.

A gradual fill-out of the borders

We had our annual Plant Sale for the local gardening club towards the start of the month and that went well. It was a little quiet and as expected, there were fewer plants all-round since the season has been so poor, but we did well for the challenge.

We also had our first public NGS Open Day of 2024 the week after, where we opened with another local garden, who were encouraged to join the NGS scheme after visiting us last year! It was probably the sum of local and online advertising, the NGS coverage at Chelsea, combined opening, no pre-booking arrangements, word-of-mouth and a whole heap of other things that led to us welcoming almost 150 visitors to the garden that afternoon.

Some sunshine!

It was thrilling to have such an overwhelming response as – for context – this is at least double our busiest and on average, triple the usual numbers that we had to NGS Open Days last year. I had made 8 large cakes on a bumper baking day, expecting to have a fair amount left over to test freezing them, but they all went, gone, down to the very last slice. Unfortunately I did have to disappoint a few people who were looking forward to the teas, but at least it was later in the afternoon, when things were coming to a close.

The short-lived NGS Cake Menu

We’ve never had so many people on the patio and milling about the garden, there was a real “buzz”. I was anchored to my phone app and the credit card machine, watching the cake slices disappear one by one (occasionally in fours) and trying to keep people entertained as they waited patiently for the kettles to boil. I wish I was able to take some photos, but never got chance.

Luckily the NGS volunteers for the afternoon had helped on our Open Days last year and so were experienced, but even they were rushed off their feet serving cake and making the hot drinks, collecting the empties to wash up to be reused for people still in the queue.

It’s all about the scent in June

As usual, the verbal and written comments were all lovely and split between the garden and the cake. The only critical person seemed to be me. I noted the patio pots still only had seedlings plants, the annuals are only just now getting going, ready to flower in a few weeks. There were gaps in the borders (with seedlings growing for those), there was no sign of the dahlias and some of the border edging and weeding wasn’t complete, admittedly this was under dense shrubbery and ferns, so wasn’t really visible unless you knew what to look for.

Our next NGS Open Day is alongside our partner garden again this weekend and I’m very relieved that it is their turn to make, host and serve the teas. We’ll just have a bit of seating on the patio for those wanting a sit from the short walk between the two gardens. I’m very much looking forward to the no-baking on the day before and the lack of organising the crockery, tables and just everything that goes along with making and serving food. I can focus on the people and the garden, though I’ll still be tied to my phone with the app that drives the card machine.

I heard someone comment that they “loved” this “wild” Erigeron look

The garden has had a little sunshine and it has brought more flowers out and the borders are looking fuller. The soaked, bedraggled look of the garden in May has given way to a drier, more sun-tanned, healthy glow and hopefully that will continue over the summer (that last word in air-quotes). The patio pots – if not yet flowering – aren’t just a collection of tiny seedlings in large containers anymore. It’s also starting to smell divine. The jasmine on the back of the house is starting to flower, as are the Regal Lilies along with honeysuckle in the hedge and the roses covering the arches and the pergola. The mock orange is fully out too – several mature shrubs of them – it should be the most fragrant NGS garden in the county.

Doing some finishing-touches

While there are garden jobs that need doing, none of them feel terribly urgent, apart from perhaps giving the benches a clean; the birds aren’t house-trained, after all. It’s a stark difference to the panic I was feeling in the run-up to the first NGS, when I was trying to squeeze in a whole winter’s worth of clean-up in a few weeks when the weather finally let up from being so hostile and allowed the garden to dry out, just enough.

So just like the garden, I’ll plan to coast through to the next NGS event in a few days and then – as I’ve not planned anything beyond that – think about how best to spend the rest of the summer months, preferably from a sun lounger.

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.


peteracoles1 20/06/2024 - 8:40 pm

Congratulations on such a successful opening -garden looks very lush and so do the cakes !!
Well done

Sunil 24/06/2024 - 12:11 pm

Thank you, Peter. The whole day spent baking only to have one single fork’s-worth from all those cakes did make me cry a little inside. It was busy-chaos all afternoon, but in a good way our more recent was was – thankfully – much more relaxed.

Jean 22/06/2024 - 8:16 pm

Congratulations on a banner open garden day! Partnering with another garden to trade off host and refreshment duties seems like a brilliant strategy (although some visitors might be disappointed not to get *your* cakes!). Since my only experience with NGS open garden days is your posts, I was thrilled (when watching the Chelsea coverage on TV) to see that the NGS show garden had a shed with a counter for serving cake and tea.

Sunil 24/06/2024 - 12:14 pm

Thanks Jean, not having to do the refreshments this time meant we were almost twiddling our thumbs wondering what to do in the run-up to the afternoon, it was a bizarre feeling. The NGS coverage on the Chelsea Flower Show was a bit misleading in that while I wish I had a shed that served tea and cakes, I haven’t come across one yet. I’m not sure how you would keep all the spiders and insects away. Our shed is barely waterproof, perhaps I need an upgrade?


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