Roses and friends


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The week following the Open Garden saw us preparing for The Big Party, an event we thought of at about the same time we were asked to be part of the village open Gardens. It seemed like a good idea, as the garden would hopefully be looking its best from all the hours labour we put in to get it ready for its show date.. And so it proved to be, and what us more, during the week between the two events the weather warmed up and the roses tumbled into flower most gloriously. For most of them it’s their second summer and flowering  has been so much freer than last year, as is to be expected.

Along with the roses came the marquee, expertly and efficiently erected by Burgoynes, a local company specialising in such things. The garden slopes gently but noticeably and the flattest area is the new meadow, so that’s where it went. There was a plan for dancing and the slope would have resulted in a general accumulation of guests in a heap at the bottom of the slope! It looked good peeping above the hedge. We thought we quite fancied keeping it…think of the fun and use you could make of a huge tent….

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So we made great use of the marquee on party day and the day after. There were friends and family, music and dancing, eating and laughing and many, many glasses of bubbly stuff. The weather was kind, the sun shone and stars followed and the planning of weeks and months led to a fabulous evening and many lovely memories.

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And all too soon it was over. The flowers  from the jam jar posies, mostly grown from seed, gathered together, the dress hung up, and within a few days, the party was packed away, marquee and all and just a few bales of straw remain. And the very best memories.

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open gardens

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White Siberian iris in front of Kolkwitzia

Its been a little bit busy here-on two consecutive weekends in June we first hosted an Open Garden to raise money for the local Village Hall and then a Garden Party complete with marquee on the meadow for 85 guests to celebrate some very special anniversaries in our lives. Both events were incredible fun. And organising both has occupied us for the first 6 months of the year.

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The gravel patio with unamed blue geranium

The Open Garden in the middle of June is an annual event in our village and this year 11 gardens were opened for two afternoons in the middle of June. It has been looming on our gardening horizon for quite some months, but the very idea of doing this quite crazy thing proved to be both mind focussing and rewarding. Many of the visitors were from the village but some came from the further ends of the county and over the boundary into Shropshire.The indifferent weather of the Saturday afternoon was surpassed by the very pleasant Sunday and as we were also selling ice cream and had a plant sale, people did arrive in numbers.Over the 2 days we had just over 120 visitors and I had  enjoyable conversations with many of them.

Kolkwitzia peak flowering

Kolkwitzia peak flowering in the Kitchen border

In plant terms, the azaleas were finished and the roses had hardly started-it was such a late season, but the foxglves, lupins and astrantias were at their most magnificent and they filled the borders beautifully. The kolkwitzia  and spirea arguta in full bloom were spectacular and enough of the irises were making a show for the absence of roses to be hardly noticed.

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Tall and stately exclamation marks-foxgloves and delphinium grown from seed and lupins

It has been a good year for lupins and delphiniums. The cool weather has kept the lupins going for ages and kept down the numbers of slugs  but in a short week between Open Gardens and the party, the weather warmed up and the roses and  most of the delphiniums came out in a rush. I will put up those pictures next time as otherwise i will never finish this post and you will all be bored reading.

Would I open the garden again? Maybe, but not next year. Having the 2 events a week apart was the spur we needed but we have spent many, many hours getting to the point of being ready in our own minds to share what we have.We love the garden and the setting but are oddly still thin-skinned about what other people think, even though we do what we do for pleasure. Having said that, people couldn’t have been kinder in their comments. But it has given me a new insight into the work involved and people who do chose to open their beloved private spaces on a regular basis, well I  admire them enormously.

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The South border with thalictrum, aquilegias persicaria and centaurea