Open Gardens Saturday 11th May 2019

All participants agreed that our Open Gardens Day was a great success, and visitors’ comments suggested that the event gave them a great deal of pleasure.

Nine gardens took part. (1) The Unitarian Church garden, a hidden gem of a contemplative garden; (2) 23 Victoria Street, a walled garden with lawn, vine and fruit trees; (3) 21 Victoria Street, a garden on two levels with raised beds and a miniature pond; (4) 11 Parker Street, a classical design with sunken terrace and ornamental trees; (5) 7 Clarendon Street, a small walled garden with roses and topiary; (6) 31 Orchard Street, a pocket-handkerchief courtyard; (7) 13 Orchard Street, a tiny topiary-filled courtyard; (8) 49 New Square, a garden wrapping round the house, laid out as four small ‘rooms’ with a lower garden with pond, lawn with herbaceous border, a parterre and a courtyard garden; (9) 23 Eden Street, a small courtyard garden with water features and a small pond. Tea and cakes were provided at the Unitarian Church, transformed for the day into a café.

About 130 visitors passed through the gardens during the day (not every ticket holder visited all nine gardens). Tickets were sold at £10 each. 129 tickets were sold at the Unitarian Church and 14 tickets were sold at 49 New Square, a total of 143 tickets, raising £1,430. In addition to this, donations received for teas at the Unitarian Church totalled £144.70, making a grand total of £1,574.70. There will be some expenses, notably for printing, to take from this sum, and I also believe we should make a donation to the Unitarian Church. But we hope to be able to send to our two charities, Jimmy’s Homeless Project and The Cambridge Children’s Charity, at least £700 each. 

We are very grateful to the gardeners, Susanna Brown, Suzie and Nick McCave, Katharine Ames-Lewis, Edward Cearns, Antoinette Mitchell, Hilary Bourdillon and Ann Swarbrick, David Wherrett and Matthew Rice, Carrie Herbert and Ruth Loshak, and Becky Cornish for their enthusiasm and magnificent work in bringing the gardens up to such a standard. We are grateful to the Unitarian Church for their generosity in making their church available for the event, and, in addition to the Minister, Andrew Brown, to the members of the congregation who volunteered to help with the tea. Many thanks also to Jimmy’s for providing leaflets describing the homeless project in East Road. We should also thank Carrie Herbert for entertaining all gardeners and their assistants to drinks at 49 New Square at the end of the day.

Looking ahead to next year, the general feeling was that we would like to run the event again, hoping that other gardeners, having seen this year’s success, will want to join in. However, we shall need to consider the maximum number of gardens practicable to include in a single day’s opening. We will also need to consider the best date for the event, bearing in mind the Red Balloon Open Garden at 49 New Square on the second weekend in June. Our Open Gardens subcommittee will meet to discuss the best way forward.

Richard Ames-Lewis

11th May 2019

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