Reconnoitring Veddw

by AnneWareham on September 24, 2012

Iris at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

A genuine request for information.

I’m closing the garden this week – our last coach party is on Friday. I find keeping the garden looking as good as possible through May to September quite tough and end up exhausted at this time of year, in desperate need of a holiday. But now we begin to get requests for visits from people who want to reconnoitre the garden for garden clubs who may want to come as a coach party next year.

I think people may believe that a garden is a kind of static thing – just ‘there’, but in fact, to look presentable (and rightly or wrongly we most of us like to be presentable) it takes more work to keep the garden presentable in autumn and winter than the cleaning, tidying and vacuuming we most of us do in the house to make that presentable for visitors. And, since people may wish to use the loo, the house has to be included too..

So I do wish this wouldn’t happen. I can provide testimonials or addresses of people who have brought coach parties here if people would appreciate that. It’s not even the time of year when most of these parties come (June) so hardly reveals what they will see. These trips must be expensive and the garden clubs often fund them.

And should they pay us? Our minimum charge is £65 but they never offer.

What I really would like to know, and it seems rude to ask, is what are these visits for? What are they expected to achieve that Googling and map reading won’t offer? I do know, of all people, that we need accurate garden reviews, and I do my best to provide them (see – thinkingardens tweet reviews and thinkingardens garden reviews .) but sadly, most people are reasonably, perhaps far too easily – satisfied by gardens. So what are these trips for?

Can someone enlighten me?

(I have been thinking since I wrote this – is this actually the price we pay for the dishonest ‘garden stories’ in magazines and newspapers, and the general lack of real garden reviews?)

Orchid at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

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Paul Steer September 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Alas I cannot enlighten you, unless individuals representing clubs see this as an opportunity to see the garden privately, in peace and without distraction ? Or maybe they just want your cake. Anyhow they should just respect that the garden is closed and that is that, and you need not feel in any way obliged toward them.
You have a lovely spotted orchid there by the way, did a painting of one for the exhibition. Have a lovely quiet and restful time.

AnneWareham September 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Thanks Paul! I am trying. (as ever)

Bet your spotted orchid is amazing. XXX

Gary Webb September 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I’ve experienced this before. If I was going to be taking an influencial group around a garden I didn’t know well, a recce would be very helpful and reassuring, but there’s a limit to how far I’d be willing to travel. If this is the reason, then this can be a reasonable request. I would add however that I’d accept the garden however I found it and wouldn’t judge – ie, I wouldn’t expect you to prepare the garden just for a mini visit! Some large scale gardens with visitor support staff do of course welcome pre-visits and wouldn’t routinely charge, as with a wedding show-round. The cynic in me thinks that some make recce visits just to get the one up on the rest of the group, which can be a waste of time for the garden owner who goes to a lot of trouble to ensure all visiting info is available on-line… If someone wants a free visit, the least they can do is explain their intentions!

AnneWareham September 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Alas, pride being what it is I could no more ignore things like mowing than I could vacuuming indoors. I’m not a great tidier or weeder, but it’s very much the same as the way you’d clean up the house for a visitor for me. Might hide things behind the sofa but still make an effort..