Gardening Leave

No, I haven’t quit my job or been given my marching orders, but I have taken a couple of days off to prepare the garden for our National Gardens Scheme open days this weekend. I am fastidious at the best of times, but risk turning a little bit obsessive-compulsive over the next 24 hours. Suddenly every yellowing leaf, fallen petal or stray branch has come into sharp focus and I can see flaws everywhere. Will visitors notice the horrific capsid bug damage and the dirty windows? Well, they will if they read this before coming along; the polite ones will kindly avert their eyes towards the abundant flowers.

Welcome to our jungle!
Welcome to our jungle

No garden is perfect, but in truth ours is looking about the best it ever has done. I was concerned last weekend that we may have peaked a few days too soon, but I was worrying unnecessarily. The dahlias are covered in bloom and I wonder now why I didn’t introduce them to the garden sooner. They seem very much at home in large pots. Joy of joys, the gingers, Hedychium densiflorum ‘Stephen’, started to open yesterday, their flowers like exotic bottlebrushes, towering over my head. The scent in the garden last night was indescribably beautiful.

Hedychium 'Stephen' sparkles
Hedychium densiflorum ‘Stephen’ sparkles

So, here we go, the final push. The weather forecast changes by the hour, but it seems we’ll miss the worst of the showers tomorrow and have a fine day on Sunday. Even at their most ravenous the snails and vine weevils can’t thwart me now. It only remains for me to wash down the paintwork, jet-wash the terrace, put up the famous yellow signs and count the float, whilst Him Indoors bakes for England. See you on the other side…..

Agapanthus africanus and Dahlia 'Amercian Dawn'
Agapanthus africanus and Dahlia ‘Amercian Dawn’

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19 thoughts on “Gardening Leave

  1. Everything looks beautiful. I can only imagine the oohs and aahs you’ll hear from your garden visitors. Looking forward to the ‘after’ post to hear all about it. Arise Saturday morning and just enjoy yourself for the weekend. Remember no one else has a garden just like yours or as beautiful. 🙂


  2. I really do hope that you and Him indoors have a wonderful weekend, I’m really excited for you. Looking forward to hearing all about it.


  3. Everything in the photos looks very well-maintained and lushly blooming — I’m sure everyone who visits will enjoy your garden. Thanks for sharing it with us, and good luck with the big day! -Beth


  4. Congratulations on a magnificent looking garden. Will be thinking of you both and I just know all your visitors will marvel at the stunning presentation. Maybe I will make the next one!!! All the best. H from Oz. Xx


    1. Cheers Helen. I am quite relaxed about it now as everything seems to have come together. Alex has done some marvellous baking and we have lots of helpers – hopefully not more than we have visitors! (PS I have not forgotten your e-mail, apologies for delayed reply). Lots of love to you in Oz (PPS I had a large Bundy and coke yesterday evening and it kept me awake half the night. Delicious though!)


  5. Hi Dan, Good luck with your open days this weekend. Everything looks lovely so ‘Keep calm and carry on’. Remember to enjoy yourself too and bask in all the positive comments which I’m sure you’ll have.


    1. Thanks so much. We did have a lot of wonderful, kind, appreciative visitors and so feel quite positive about doing it again. Can’t imagine needing to be on top form every day like you guys at Sissinghurst! That is a real achievement.


  6. Hello! I have only recently found your blog and enjoy it enormously. I garden too, but in rural Australia, and not nearly as meticulously as you! Your garden looks perfectly lush and gorgeous. I hope your Open Day went well. If I know gardeners, they would have been generous with their praise, inspired by your plantings, and certainly not looking for dirty windows 🙂 Best wishes, Ros.


    1. Thank you Ros. Yes, everyone was very generous indeed with their positive comments. We felt very uplifted by the whole experience, although it’s odd that it’s over now. Happily I think everyone was thoroughly distracted and did not spot the windows 😉 So delighted you found the blog and hope you will keep following. Dan


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