What is an “Open Garden” and am I welcome?
You may well have seen adverts and signs around many villages and towns during the summer, advertising an ‘Open Gardens’ event, but don’t actually know what it is. This is a quick guide to let you enjoy these wonderful events.
What is Open Gardens
Once a year, gardeners in a village will come together and invite the public into their gardens to raise money for charity. Numbers can vary, but 10-15 is typical and may run over 2 days.
Why would I want to go
People like to go round for various reasons. Some are keen gardeners. Others may want to see what others have managed to do with their space, and get ideas for their own. Some people just enjoy a nice walk round pretty parts of a village. Some people have always wondered what was in their neighbours garden. Some want to purchase plants at a fraction of the cost of garden centres. Some come for tea and homemade cakes. Old, young, families, single, all are welcome.
Do I need to know plants, and gardening terms. I don’t want to look silly if asked.
No, you don’t need to know about plants. You just need enjoy being there. Only about half the people who come round are gardeners, and the rest are just people out for a nice day out. You won’t be quizzed, but are welcome to ask for advice. The owners love to help someone starting out who may not know where to start. We were all in that position once.
How does it work
You normally purchase a map/ticket (known as a passport) from a central location. This may be a village hall, pub, or gazebo on the green. It will be well signposted. Typically it will cost £3-£5 per person and kids normally go free. Profits of this normally go to charity. This passport allows you entry into ALL the gardens. Each garden will be marked on the map with a description of what you may find there. You then follow the map until you reach the first garden. There should be a sign or balloon outside to show that you have the right place. Front and/or back gardens are normally open.
Go In. Don’t be shy. Have a walk around, have an explore and get some ideas. Chat to the owners about anything you want to know. Take your time, and have a sit down. Gardens feel totally different once you sit down and get a lower view. There is no time limit. Relax, have a snooze. Get some tea and cake. When you are ready, go to the next one. You don’t have to go to all of them, and you can go back to ones you’ve enjoyed. If the event is open over 2 days, your passport usually allows you to come back on the second day.