My garden (and of course my partner’s) will be open for the public on the last weekend in May 2015, (the 30th and the 31st) which is the final weekend of openings for Open Gardens Australia (OGA), and the impending event started me thinking.
It is truly sad that this organisation is folding at the end of June but never fear, something will rise from the ashes! I am reliably informed that N.S.W. and South Australia already have their acts together and have registered new state based schemes and Victoria is well underway in doing the same. So although the end of a long era has come, new things are afoot and garden visiting will not stop.
I have a long association with OGA dating well back to near its beginning as the Victorian Garden Scheme. I have opened my own garden 35 times, have been a local selector for the scheme as well as done a stint on the Victorian Committee so I have seen it from lots of different angles and perspectives.
The best things about OGA was that it encouraged Australians to become garden visitors so that they could see what could be done as well as encouraging those that were opening to put their best feet forward. There is nothing to compare with seeing things in the flesh: no book, telly show, radio segment or lecture can do what being in someone else’s garden can.
Without insider information to go on I can only surmise that competing garden openings and the expense of running a scheme on a national level were in the end too much for those on committee and the hard decision was then made so hopefully the new state based groups will learn from the past and flourish into the future as we really must continue opening gardens no matter who does it.
Why have I opened ‘Tugurium‘ so often one might well ask, and no I am not a masochist! As a nurseryman it is obviously good P.R. for both my partner’s botanic art and me as well. So I guess that is a reason enough you might think but there are other more general reasons for opening anyone’s garden that have always been my prime motivations.
Most importantly it gives a date to work towards so that you can get the garden looking at its best and finish projects that could otherwise stay on the backburner. Nothing gets you motivated like the thought of someone pointing out the weeds!
More altruistically if you have something that you love and think is pretty good then it is lovely to own but even nicer to share with others whether it is a garden, a piece of art work or an antique sideboard.
Naturally the hoped for accolades are reassuring when they come and the comments and suggestions from visitors can open your eyes to all sorts of possibilities that you may not have thought of.
I have only just come indoors after dividing Dietes, planting Peucidanum and resettling a rose as well as spreading home rotted compost over the very same bed. Perhaps no one will notice these additions but I will know that they are there.
I well remember my first opening when I raped and pillaged my nursery to fill gaps with the plants that were left in pots to be taken back the following Monday! No one noticed the ploy since I cleverly mulched all the temporary residents. Before you start accusing me of cheating, all is fair in love and gardening and I promise that I haven’t done it for the impending opening!
So please make my swan song a ripper and come and visit ‘Tugurium‘ at 8 Centenary Ave, Macedon on 30-31 May, open 10am to 4.30pm.
By the way in case you are looking at the OGA Guide Book my dates were changed from June to May so as the organisation can close their books before the end of the financial year.
So what will you see at ‘Tugurium‘ at the end of May?
It will be about lay out and texture, foliage and form and the few flowers that you will see will probably be those of two of my favourite genera Cyclamen and Oxalis, yes Oxalis, as this amazing group has over 800 species from almost all over the world and only a few have proven to be weedy and most of the rest are great long-flowering garden plants.