How did we do it? Who knows, as it was Fathers’ Day and blazing hot, but still people came to see the nine gardens and force down the tea and cakes.
Here’s a sample of what they saw…
It’s that time again – Alhampton Open Gardens is coming up fast – come and look around this year’s selection on Sunday 12th June, see how Haddon Wood is progressing, check out the photographic display in the Chapel and then recover with a cup of tea and piece of cake.
Parking this year will be in the Orchard field behind the Chapel in No Through Road and tickets (including map), available this year from the Chapel itself. BA4 6PZ.
Weary, but oh, so worth it, at the end of a long day of Open Gardens, didn’t our gardeners, cake bakers, signmakers, ticket sellers – all brought together by Hil – do us proud! It’s too late to write anything sensible and considered but here’s a taster…
…and here’s a selection of Rose Hubbard’s pictures from the day. It’s good to have an official photographer on the committee!
…and finally, the good news, from Hil…
Once again we used this as a fund-raising opportunity for Haddon Wood, and on 7 June we were blessed with three things: weather, the results of advertising on a free website, and Monty Don’s reference to Somerset having great gardens to visit. All that meant more visitors than we’ve ever seen, and a total profit of over £1660! A lot of people put in a great deal of effort and it was well worth it. If you’ve never come along to this, we’ll be doing it all again next year; we do have some different gardens each time (and some everyone always wants to see). If you’re not keen on gardens, come for the tea and cake – delicious! We’re building an excellent fund for taking us into leasing, and allowing us to do some things as we go along.
It doesn’t seem all that long since the last Open Gardens day in Alhampton – particularly, no doubt, to the hard working people allowing us to invade their privacy – but here we are again! Gert Schley and Charles Dowding are opening again, but to ring the changes and spread the load, the others are all different from last year.
With parking and tickets at The Alhampton Innn, by kind permission of the landlords (sat nav – BA4 6PY), we have 10 gardens to see for only £5, plus our ever popular teas. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Where to start, really – so much went incredibly well. Whoever arranged the weather did a perfect job; the tea & cakes were outstanding, and the people were all friendly, smiling and just plain nice.
In case you couldn’t make it, here’s a flavour of what you missed. In this tiny village of 65 odd houses, we have some outstanding, nationally-known gardeners as well as some incredible gardens you’d not otherwise see. The contrast between the formal, intimate garden around Highbridge House and The exuberant, lush mix of flower fruit and food at Meadowside couldn’t have been greater. In between you could visit the beautifully designed and maintained Bridge House, Alham House’s very individual garden with the house seeming to grow out of it, and Canada House with its quirks, foibles and (I love this) special seating area for a glass of wine with friends in the evening!
If you’re not already regretting missing it, let me tell you about a few more things you could’ve seen. The classic garden at Ashley House, the huge open natural space bordered by the River Alham at The Mill House where you could also have sampled some truly great cakes and dainty sandwiches and seen the fascinating hydro-turbine, explained by experts who bring to life a brilliant way of generating power from a natural resource. On from there you’d have found Homeacres where Charles Dowding produces more food than you’d think possible, and all by avoiding digging. And a final contrast in the truly child-friendly White Chimneys, where the children (sorry girls I know teenage is here/beckoning) were dragooned (sorry, volunteered!) to bake, along with a host of other willing helpers, to provide yet another extraordinary spread.
Three hours disappeared in a flash. Never have so many people said how much they enjoyed open gardens, and very pleasingly that includes those who let us all troop through and have a good look around. Huge thanks to them, it was brilliant. There are two more things to be said about the day – the first is massive thanks to the people who did all the other work that isn’t always much recognised (though again, this year moreso than ever before). That means Louisa’s stint at the pub selling programmes (I know, I know, she didn’t have a glass of wine till quarter to five!); Ronnie for sitting outside Highbridge House for three hours (by my reckoning you didn’t wait quite as long as Louisa for, shall we say, refreshment!), bakers who supplied wonderful cakes (I don’t know who they all were, so forgive me for the omissions, but I can mention Clemmie, Mags, Emily and Holly), really good-looking posters and programmes Tony, putting up signs Nell, Rose and Tony for a great photographic exhibition of Haddon Wood in the tin chapel (still there for a short while if you’re interested) and of course the Alhampton Inn, without whose space for parking and ticket sales we’d be a bit stumped.
And for those of you whose interest is in Haddon Wood rather than gardens, here comes the really good bit. We took £560 in ticket sales, and with amazing sales of tea and cake, and Gert’s plants and tools (I’m still curious as to what you were selling to make that much!), plus very generous donations, our total proceeds for Haddon will be £1000. Wow. Seriously.
These are my snatched shots, mostly taken during the Gardeners’ preview – hence the angle of the sun and weird exposures …or at least that’s my excuse. For the more professional approach, see Heather’s pictures under the main Gallery tab at the top of the page…tr3planter
Just a week to go… Spread the word – and cross all fingers for good weather at BA4 6PY!
Nine gardens this year, including in No Through Road – by popular demand – Gert Schley’s lovely garden, which proclaims his lifelong experience of and love for everything horticultural in every leaf and twig, at the same time demonstrating how organic principals can supply a feast for both body and soul. Next to him is Charles Dowding’s prolific no-dig, organic vegetable garden – a true educational experience and if that’s all too much to digest, you’ll be able to get tea and cake across the road at White Chimneys to sustain you.
At the other end of the village and new this year, are Mill House (another tea and cake stop!) with its hydro turbine – that some of you may have seen before, but worth another look – and just over the bridge on the Ditcheat road, our local celebrity racing trainer is generously allowing us a snoop too – though the sensible man will be absent himself.
Between the two extremes are another five individual and contrasting gardens, each and every one worth a look and a little envy.
….STOP PRESS…. I’m told that Gert will be selling both plants and surplus garden tools too!
In response to the request for photographs of the Alhampton Open Garden day, here are a few I took on my walk around the village. Apologies if your garden is not in the gallery, but the lovely hospitality received in each garden meant I did not have time to take more pictures! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Heather and I’m a freelance Garden Photographer, probably more well known for living in the house with ‘the big dog in the window’! Pictures are still in the process of being captioned and will be updated shortly. Hope you enjoy the pictures, any queries, please contact me by email.