If you follow us on Twitter and Instagram you'll know that just over two years ago, we took on the care of a beautiful garden that used to be part of the National Open Garden Scheme (no pressure then! ;)). It's a place of absolute beauty and it's been an adventure trying to keep on top of it, put it that way!
We're learning as we go and for us, the joy of planning, being outside in the fresh air, seeing the wildlife that lives here and pouring our hearts in to the garden when we can, is something we treasure. We wish we could do more... can someone make time stand still for a month please, so we can catch up on some of the jobs? ;)).
Anyway, we all work hard in our gardens and so we're big supporters of Somerset Garden Day, happening this Sunday May 13th. It's a time to down the spades and wheelbarrows and enjoy the gardens we've all created... but we'll let Paula Carnell tell you more about that! She's an ambassador for Somerset Garden Day and we chatted to her about the day itself, her own garden and how she'll be celebrating on Sunday.
1. For those who don't know, can you tell us a little bit about Somerset Garden Day and also, how you got involved?
Somerset Garden Day is all about reminding people to embrace and enjoy the beauty of their own and their friends' gardens. It's all too easy to take for granted the joys of having a garden, especially at this time of year when it all springs to life and can seem like more of a burden than a joy... with so many chores to keep the weeds in check and the grass a manageable length.
Garden Day is a day to rest and love your garden for what it is, weeds and all, share it with friends and family and enjoy the wildlife!
I was delighted to become involved as an ambassador,. I’ve always loved having flowers in my hair, so the chance to have such a beautiful flower crown was too good an opportunity to miss! I'm also on a mission to raise awareness of the plight of bees... solitary, bumble as well as the honey bees and so if being an ambassador helps to spread awareness a little further, I'll be very pleased!
2. What type of garden do you have and what does it mean to you?
We have a reasonably large garden, which we’re finding does take quite a bit of time to keep on top of. We love flowers and so have lots of beds with roses and many unusual trees and shrubs that we’ve purchased at various times - as well as some we've been given. Each plant has a memory for us and over the past 15 years, we’ve seen the garden develop from a bare patch of lawn to a jungle of colour and wildlife.
I'm studying herbal medicine and I've been allowing more ‘weeds’ to develop, so I can learn about their properties and growing conditions. By keeping bees, I've also become more aware about leaving forage for all types of them, as much as I possibly can throughout the year.
3. How will you be celebrating Somerset Garden Day this year?
This year, we've invited a few close friends over for afternoon tea. There was a temptation to hold a large party, but that would involve lots of work and baking... and really, we wanted to celebrate by relaxing!
4. Tell us a secret about Somerset Garden Day, or a gardening related secret about yourself, that no-one else knows! :)
I tend not to have secrets, so this is a difficult one! It’s no secret that I'm not a natural gardener and maybe my secret is that I do have some help. We decided that our house comes alive in the summer months... we have all the doors and windows open and allow the garden scents to fill the house. As we realise that all the tiny plants we've purchased over the years have grown quite large, an extra pair of hands now and again makes a big difference.
An extra pair of hands definitely does make a difference and lots of them do too... especially when they're making flower crowns to celebrate Somerset Garden Day! You might have seen the flower crown 'stops' at various Somerset markets recently, where you can go and create a flowery halo to get in to the Garden Day spirit. :)
Like Paula, we love a flower crown and if you fancy making one to wear on Sunday (or any day you like really ;)) head to Hauser & Wirth in Bruton or The Bishops Palace in Wells this Saturday, 12th May from 10am-1pm and have a go for free.
Whatever you do to celebrate or enjoy your garden on Sunday, have a good one. I think for us, it'll be a clinking of glasses and a toast to the garden we were possibly a little mad to take on... to all the genuine happiness it gives us... happiness that makes all the hard work and every aching muscle absolutely worth it.