15 June 2009
London Open Squares Weekend
The Open Squares Weekend is a great opportunity to show off the work we do and to earn few pounds for the charity. Going by previous years we expected a stream of visitors and a fine gaggle of Committee 'plus' turned out to help - Alex, Jane, Graziella, Angela, Peter, Elizabeth, Michael, Ray, Shyamal - thankfully long gone are the days of event chaos with leaky kettles, no hands and frayed tempers. The gates opened at ten and though visitor numbers were less than last year the stream was steady.
We had the marquee up so I was happy in the shade with the plant sale. The open days are always scorchers and I wilt quickly in the sun but undercover selling plants propagated in the garden and answering garden questions is a pleasure.
[All the Echium seedlings sold very quickly despite the disclaimer as to success - they have been sat in their small pots for over a year - but at 50p were thought a bargain (I wouldn't have bought them). The Blackcurrant Sage and pots of Pheasant Grass also went well. I was surprised that only one of the Spring Vetchlings sold, grown from seed and flowering size were a steal at a pound (more fool them - I shall use them all here instead and warm my hands on their envy next spring).]
Busier were the sales of refreshments - tea, coffee and cake - and many visitors, tea in hand, wanted to know more about the garden, its history and its plants so we were all kept busy talking to visitors. It is nice to meet so many people who regularly see 'proper' gardens and who are so complimentary about ours. 9 out of 10 are clear that we have the best they've seen all day, this included the founder of the Open Squares Weekend and her English Heritage companion agreed. High praise indeed.
Some, of course, are more challenging and leftfield.
Me (selling a hardy geranium to somebody else): It makes a dense weed proof ground cover...
Her (overhearing and stridently butting in): It spreads like a weed and kills everything!
Me: Well it only seeds a bit and it is easily removable anyway.
Her:They are full of slugs!
Me: I don't find that, and slugs do feed the birds.
Her:There aren't any birds in my garden because the cats ate them all!!! (strides off)
I didn't make the sale.
Him:Do you get herons in your ponds?
Me: I haven't seen any here but I know they are in the area. I've seen them at Regents . . .
Him: You will! Lots of them.
Me: I don't think they really like the West End...
Him: They will come here! And they will eat all your fish!!
Me: Well, they haven't been here . . .
Him: They will. And you will have to put nets up!!!
Me: I'm not overly worried as it . . .
Him: Do you want all your fish to die?
Me: I'm not overly worried as it hasn't been a prob...
Him: When the heron has eaten them all then you'll be sorry!
Odd, but I considered myself warned.