28th July 2018
Sue Bulbrook had been persuaded to host the Summer Social after having held her daughter’s wedding reception in their beautiful garden, last Summer.
Since this year started with a long period of snow, excessively low temperatures, then a great deal of rain, Sue was already struggling before the 50+ days of drought immediately preceding the event.
The first rain, several hours of it, occurred on the day before, and it was slightly showery while we were setting up on the morning. However, the sun shone, the caterer arrived and members were welcomed with a glass of wine or home-made elderflower ( from Sue’s own shrubs), or other cordial before roaming round the garden and meeting other members.
We had provided members with name-badges, requested by a fairly new member, and useful to many of us who remember faces, but not names, unless, of course, they are plant names.
Sue had been complaining bitterly that her garden was not as colourful as she would have liked, - and it certainly wasn’t as orange as it was two years ago when we were last there,- due to the vagaries of the weather. Without that background knowledge, the garden was still interesting in its layout and design, the plant associations and colour-schemes, as well as the textural relationships between foliage, stonework, and containers.
The stepped terrace, directly outside the back of the house, with groups of tables and chairs, provided vantage points for members to admire the immediate groups of colourful and varied plants in pots, and the collection of Japanese Acers and others on a tiered stand in a shady corner. From there, we could glimpse inviting pathways between the shrubs and flower beds to hidden glades beyond.
There were a number of large trees in the garden, providing shade, and green lawns - an unusual sight for many of us just now. A degree of excitement was caused by a sudden cracking sound when a large branch of an old Acacia tree broke and swung, hinged by an edge, fortunately not close to anyone, but giving Judy Wilson a near heart-attack.
The lunch, of delicate canapés was enjoyed by all, but perhaps mostly by those who got there first!
We had a plant stall, for which some members brought fresh plants. Other than that, they were the ones being nurtured ( or otherwise) by Linda and me, and we were very grateful to members who bought them, helping us to fund-raise for the Group.
A newish member brought some pots of seedling Lapeirousia, also known as Anomotheca, and apparently correctly known as Freesia laxa, ( but don’t quote me there!). Several members examined them in perplexed interest. I was rash enough to buy some. ( See separate note).
After lunch, Linda called the raffle, for which we had plenty of donated prizes, all of which, I trust, went to good homes.
There was then time for a final scan of Sue’s interesting plants, a brief wander, and, for several members, an excursion into Sue’s husband, Lee’s, mystical Workshop, where he, with the mind of engineering scientist, worthy of the title of ‘inventor,’ showed some of his projects and equipment.
Starving members, and their passengers, came round to my garden for a cuppa and a cheese roll before facing the drive home.
The general feeling was that Sue’s garden was better than anybody had a right to hope for and a good day was had by all.
Since numbers of members attending were half what they have been in recent years, the committee would be interested in changing the format to suit more members.
Did you consider it too expensive?
Was it too soon to visit the same garden again?
There was a suggestion that an evening meeting, perhaps later in the Summer, would attract more members. An earlier one would suit, if John and Brenda were organising the holiday in another month, than June,
if a lot more members were prepared to contribute food, it would be feasible to return to our old ways, but for just the committee to do it is too much work, we don’t get to take part in the event, and we can’t produce enough food, given reasonable expenditure of our voluntary time.
Tell us what you think.