It does not seem possible that we have now been opening our garden to the public for a year - it started with the NGS open day last year. Inevitably the weather is incredibly hot and it is due to be the hottest bank holiday on record!...our Easter Monday opening was similar - the hottest Easter Monday for 80 years! Andy came to water again which was very kind so I got on with tidying the polytunnel, removing tools etc. Andy stayed to do some more weeding, he weeded the second leek bed and one of the sweetcorn beds. Mark arrived at about 12:00 and was keen to help in anyway possible, he ended up weeding the inside of the box enclosures by the fountain - a horrible job that always gets forgotten, and even he remarked on the heat! He stayed for the open day and spent ages washing up - what a star! Joy and PJ arrived to help and Joy helped on the door - not an easy job considering we opened the door to a queue of 300 people! Mary arrived at 12:00 and swept up beautifully around the polytunnel where all the work has been going on. Patrick and James had been installing the gutters and the new water butts (nice slimline 100 litre butts in dark green) which look very smart. All this last minute work is brilliant but it does make a mess and we are very lucky that Mary is prepared to tidy up after them. I have to keep watering the vulnerable new seedlings, containers and polytunnel because it is SO hot! I worked on the miniature Japanese garden - I decided to remove the dead area in the middle of the scleranthus uniflorus and inplant it with house leeks, this was risky because this could have looked awful but luckily it looked quite nice when I had finished. I clipped the mini hebe, refreshed the sand and raked it. I then tidied the alpine beds and added new shingle where needed.
The open day started with a huge influx of people and a huge thank you is owed to Meave and Joy on the door for getting people in so quickly and efficiently. A slight problem was that we had a lot of people simultaneously requiring disabled parking at the start of the day. We have 20 reserved spaces for people with limited mobility close to the house - pretty good for a private house - however, these spaces filled quickly. We really did our best to offer solutions to people and I hope it was clear that we were doing our best to accommodate everyone and I hope no one was discouraged from staying.
The refreshments were very successful - brilliantly co-ordinated by Janet (James' mum) who had produced the cakes and then organises the serving team...I don' t know what we would do without her - so thank you to Janet! Janet was assisted by 3 of Meave's friends, we owe these girls a big thank you, along with Diane - who acts as Janet's right hand man for running the refreshments so smoothly. All of our visitors (550) in total seemed very happy and complimentary, even if they were desperate for shade! Minxy slept on the lid of one of the giant 'rainwater harvesting' tanks where the door is open for people to observe. She must have had her photo taken a hundred times!
We were all delighted with the day but also exhausted! The final thank yous need to go to James, Rob and Luke and 'Luke's walkie-talkies' for their sterling work organising the parking, and to Mary, Julia, Martin and Mark for all the collecting and washing up - it really is a team effort!