Monthly garden update: August
As Autumn begins in earnest, Garden Manager Andrew Bentley reflects on the end of summer
Generally in the gardening world August is a ‘quiet’ month. There’s a lull from frantic activity as plants (including weeds!) slow down, the grass doesn’t grow as fast and the gardener has a well-earned rest before the pace picks up again in autumn. Yet this year proved to be different. We had a wetter than average August and high humidity – a recipe for continued growth, difficult mowing conditions and a rise in fungal infections that required constant attention. On top of this, some bright spark…oh yes, it was me…decided we should hold two big garden events in the same month!
Our first ever plant fair
First up was the plant fair. This was a bit of an unknown in terms of how popular it would be, given we’d never held one before. These worries turned out to be unwarranted on the day. There were 15 plant nurseries set up on our south lawn, including locals Pepperpot Herbs and Hardy’s Plants. We hosted the Hardy Plant Society who were celebrating their 60th anniversary and we were also delighted and honoured to have Roy Lancaster as our guest. Roy is a distinguished plantsman who is regularly on TV and has written numerous books. Thanks to his presence we had people travel from far and wide to meet him and purchase a signed copy of his latest book. We received lots of lovely feedback from visitors and the nurseries and it is certainly an event I would like to repeat in the future.
Our third National Garden Scheme open day
Next up was a garden open day for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) charity. This was our third of four openings for them this year and proved to be the most successful to date. We welcomed nearly 600 visitors and raised over £2000 for the NGS. We also broke records for business in our tearoom in one day and the kitchen and waiting staff rose to the challenge with such professionalism. I led two extremely packed garden tours and it was great for me to show some very seasoned gardeners around. They really put my knowledge to the test and in some cases taught me a thing or two!
A garden for all to share
All this brings home to me that the real joy of managing a garden is the opportunities to share it with others. After all, it is not ‘my’ garden. I am merely the custodian following many before and leading many after me….and like all gardeners I hope to leave the garden in a better state than I found it!