Open and shut
Gardeners are usually very willing to share a few cuttings or give advice to the novice. This generous attitude is carried to the extreme by those people who open their gardens to the public through the Open Garden Scheme. Gardens throughout Australia are made accessible on designated days for the payment of a small fee.
Perhaps you feel that your garden is too small, not interesting enough, too much of a work in progress, or the plant selection is pedestrian. None of these reasons need be a barrier to inclusion in the scheme if you want to share your garden, contact the regional coordinator to arrange an inspection. The phone number, as well as general information about the scheme and notes on open gardens in our area, is on the website www.opengarden.org.au.
Of course, not all gardens will be suitable. Dont be down-hearted if your paradise is rejected, as considerations of access, safety and similarity to other open gardens must be taken into account. Dont put off the inspection until some future date either the process can take two years from first look to actual garden opening, leaving plenty of time to tidy up the lawn edges!
Its a nerve-racking business, opening your garden for the first time. Not only are you unsure how many people will come, what the weather will be like etc, but you must also be prepared to provide plant information, serve afternoon teas, arrange the parking and so on. Also, dont forget that any damp lawn areas will suffer badly when tramped over by the hordes, and that there is a certain subset of gardeners who are certain you wont mind them taking a little cutting of this or that. Having potted plants for sale will help to discourage the nipping fingers!
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