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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Garden open today (with a bit of help from my friends)

It's been a busy week. Monday was press day at Chelsea, Tuesday morning I had to file for The Independent, so that left Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to get ready for the Bibury Open Gardens day today.


All went swimmingly until I tripped over the kitchen step while running into the house to answer the phone. I was taking off my gardening gloves as I ran, and I fell on my left hand, which was clutching my gloves. At first I thought I'd bruised a rib, but when I asked the local pharmacist for advice about painkillers,  she said it sounded like an intercostal strain, or even a torn muscle.
Great! And I'd just started getting a cold. Sneezing or coughing was going to be a whole heap of fun.
The Open Gardens event raises money for the village hall, so to be asked to take part is not only a huge compliment but also a practical way of helping to sustain community life. I was determined to go ahead with the garden opening, but the way I was feeling (and I was feeling very sorry for myself), how was that going to happen?
Luckily, my new next-door neighbours came to the rescue. Neil is a professional gardener, who for the past few years has worked with Stephen Crisp, head gardener at Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador to London.
Neil's partner Anthony is also a keen and knowledgeable gardener, while Stephen himself was coming to stay with them for the weekend. Between them, they managed to turn the mess that is my garden into something approaching respectability.


Anthony mowed the lawn...


Neil cleaned and weeded the terrace ...


And in between bites of chocolate cake, Stephen helped Neil clean up and rearrange all my pots and furniture into a far more pleasing arrangement.


My daughter helped too, fishing the gunk out of the pond. However, gardening is not really her thing, so she cleaned the house instead. There's nothing to beat a tidy, sparkling kitchen.



This picture of Rufus pretty much sums up how I feel right now, so I'll wait until tomorrow before posting photographs of the garden.

15 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your accident but happily the sun was shining as your friends and daughter worked to make your garden presentable for the tour. We once were fortunate to be in England and close to a village in Oxfordshire where they were having an open day. It was really fun to go into homeowners gardens and meet the gardener. Hope the day went well and look forward to seeing the photos-if you have time.

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    1. I think it's so inspiring to see local gardens, and to see what does well in your neighbourhood. Any time you are close to my village, you are more than welcome to come and meet this gardener!

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    2. Thanks Victoria. I'm sure we will take you up on that offer in the not too distant future. I still have a few more secret gardens in your area to visit! Timing will be crucial.

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  2. Good grief...what a week! Hope you are felling better...but how fortunate to have such stalwart, expert help. Do hope you hriased lots of money....

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    1. We have a "garden passport" system (where you pay £5 to see all the gardens that are open) so we won't know how the fund-raising went until the total amount is added up. But it was very busy, so I'm hoping we've beaten last year's record.

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  3. Good luck with the open day and hope you feel better soon!

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    1. So do I! I thought I'd relax with a bit of gentle watering this evening, which was fine until I tried to wind the hose reel up again.

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  4. Poor you, I hope it all heals quickly. Glad you had some help to pull it all together in the garden, and I hope Open Gardens day went well. I shall look forward to seeing your photos.

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    1. I'll post them asap, CJ! Might need to have a nap first, though.

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  5. It was a lovely surprise to find that your garden was one of the Bibury open gardens. It was also one of the best on the circuit too. And I'm not just saying that!

    I have sent you the photos that I took of the garden via WeTransfer to your Independant account (not sure if this is still active?)

    Really lovely to meet you and N. in person. Was that your mother doing the great watercolour?

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    1. It was lovely to meet you too, and yes, that was my mum! She also did the "Victoria" watering can. Not bad for 85, is she? The Independent email account is still live, but I've DMed you my other email address, which is more for friends and less for press releases!

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  6. That picture of Rufus is adorable. It was lovely to see you yesterday, meet some of your neighbours and even have a rootle in their gardens! What a fabulous village you've decided to call home :)

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    1. It's so lovely, isn't it? I felt quite choked up yesterday, thinking about all the people who had come, and all the people who had helped, and all the people I have got to know since I moved here. Thank you so much for coming to give me moral support - and I'm so glad you got another chance to say hello to Debra Prinzing.

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  7. Hi Victoria. It was great seeing you again in Toronto. In case you're interested, here is a link to the review I did of Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds. https://gardeninacity.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/book-review-secret-gardens-of-the-cotswolds-by-victoria-summerly/

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  8. Glad I found your blog, great discussion and photos. I am following you on Bloglovin to keep up to date with your posts. Abi x

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