First open the garden, then pour the tea

– Posted in: Garden Adventures, Garden Visits



Opened our garden on Sunday, for the National Garden Scheme, which for those of you who don’t know it, raises money for charities through encouraging private gardens to open to the public. They have been running since 1927, and now have thousands of gardens in the famous Yellow Book guide. Its not the first time I’ve participated in the scheme but the first for our current garden. Not surprisingly garden visiting is listed as one of the most popular hobbies in Britain.



Its a great way of sharing the garden, showing off, meeting people, and sharing information.

TEA and CAKES is a big part of what its all about, and to be honest the teas, organized by Jo and here is our friend Jules, took more work  and stress than the garden. For some, I think the garden is a bit of a backdrop for an afternoon of tea, cakes and gossip. I don’t do anything special in the garden, apart from some cutting back of perennials leaning over paths and patching up some paths – people have to take the garden as it comes.

The social aspect of garden visiting here is not to be underestimated – many people sit around for what seems like hours over cups of tea. We had around 180 people, most of whom who stayed for an hour and a half, and raised over £1k for charity. Good to see every little nook and cranny of the garden being explored, the yurt peered in, the Balinese flags investigated and lots of plants’ identities being asked after.

And here, in her car parking duty hi-vis vest is Jo.Nicky Daw on the right is a friend we made through going to her own garden opening many years ago.


And before we completely forget about the sport….read my blog about London’s spectacular Olympic Park planting.

and I’ve got episode four of my gardener’s soap opera up online – HELLEBORED!

Noel Kingsbury

Noel Kingsbury

Noel Kingsbury is a gardener and writer based in the west of England. Author of over 20 books, including four collaborations with Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, he is passionate about wild-style planting and bringing nature into the garden.

Noel Kingsbury

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8 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Donna August 14, 2012, 9:11 pm

The first image of the garden is wonderful. I can see why garden touring is popular in England, the gardens are beautiful. It is such a delightful way to spend and afternoon and for charity too.

ricki August 15, 2012, 11:32 am

You seem to have managed to pull this off without stressing yourself out. Kudos for that. Of course, your garden is lovely…that helps.

Marion August 16, 2012, 1:58 pm

Just wish I lived closer.
Looks great!

Lisa August 18, 2012, 1:07 pm

It looks like folks were having a great time visiting. The garden is lovely, too. Enjoying seeing the naturalistic mix of plants in your beds, of course, too.

The Intercontinental Gardener August 20, 2012, 4:01 am

Noel, your photos make miss miss the English countryside so much… it has been five years since my last visit, and despite my exotic new surroundings in Singapore, I’m craving for some good English/British gardens. And of of course, for a good cup of tea. Such a lovely tradition, the open garden days.

Lindsey Churchill August 21, 2012, 12:09 pm

Looks like a lovely way to spend the day, garden beautiful and cakes look delicious too! On behalf of Perennial staff & clients thank you, the money that we get from NGS allows us to help many fellow professional gardeners who are facing lifes unexpected challenges x

EDELTERRI August 23, 2012, 4:35 am

Wow! It all looks fabulous! I wish I could have been there, Tea, Cakes, and most importantly THE GARDEN. Which looks amazing. I will make it to the next one.

Mike Park August 31, 2012, 10:27 am

Hi Noel,
Next year I must get down !! Do you have an autumn opening this year ?

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