Passing the Test

DSC_0801I’ve just come back from one of my hour long garden consultations, where I’ve been trying to persuade the owner to open her garden for the National Garden Scheme(N.G.S.) as part of a group here in sunny (?) Manchester.DSC_0799

She’d originally called me in to advise on her front garden which was rather overgrown, and in need of a ‘fresh eye’ as she put it, but her back garden was an absolute picture:DSC_0797 (1)

As you may know, I’m an N.G.S. Assistant County Organiser for Lancashire and, as such, am often called to assess gardens to see if they’re suitable to open in aid of the N.G.S. charities. But when I get there, clipboard in hand and trying to look official, I often find that they’re too small, too scruffy, poorly planted or all three!DSC_0807DSC_0800

In fact, it’s often those garden owners who think ” Oooooh we’d love to be in the N.G.S but we think we’re just not good enough….” who turn out to have the most stunning spaces! So, if you know any fabulous gardens lurking behind gates currently marked ‘private’ , do let me know?DSC_0806

There are several criteria by which to judge a garden for inclusion in the N.G.S., but one of the most basic is that the garden or group must have at least 45 minutes of horticultural interest. And that’s excluding the obligatory tea and cake! ( I did have one garden owner who had a garden with a mere 5 minutes interest but insisted he’d give everyone two pieces of cake to make up the 40 minutes to the required 45 minutes……). I ask you!DSC_0789

Well, it makes sense when you know that many visitors travel huge distances to see a garden. Can you imagine travelling for 2 hours to see a garden that holds your interest for a paltry 5 minutes? Quite!DSC_0796DSC_0798

This garden is really lovely though. There might not be 45 minutes of interest as it’s quite small, but, teamed with one close by, it would make a lovely afternoon out. I’m working on it so……watch this space……..


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  1. Beautiful! I love the idea of being able to view gardens. I have only read about it, never actually seen one this way. What are the other criteria for gardens to pass the ‘ test’?


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