What a year 2020 has been. First came the lockdown in March 2020 where everything became eerily quiet, the flowers seemed brighter and the birdsong louder. We continued to employ our gardening staff -which is as well as we were rewarded with wonderful weather and growing conditions so that when we did open the Gardens on May 27th we were ready for our visitors.
We had a one way system, asked everyone to self-distance, served refreshments – (largely outside), and had extra cleaning systems in place. I am very pleased to report that our time was wasted on recording every visitor’s telephone number as we had no Covid follow ups.
Sadly we lost our black swans to an otter last year but this year 2 mute swans arrived and laid their eggs in the nests left by the black swans. Moving between the moat and the fishponds they raised 4 cygnets and I must report they were far more hands on as parents and provided much, distanced, entertainment to our visitors.
We never know who will come and last year, as a result of one of our visitors, in December we had a visit from the Bryological Society who are moss and liver wort enthusiasts. This year another enthusiast reported on the Dragon fly and Damsel fly in the garden and we were able to add them to the list of birds that visitors spot in the garden which we keep in the Coffee Shop. We were particularly entertained by the spotted fly catcher raising its brood above the visitors’ lavatory door and we always anxiously await the arrival of the House Martins.
We opened for the NGS on September 30th and raised £850 for their causes. Parishioners provided the refreshments in aid of Hindringham Church. Next year we open for the NGS on Saturday 20th February and are calling the day “warts and all” as it should be a chance to see the bones of the garden and a look behind the scenes.
Our most exciting event was of course being in the last 8 shortlisted for the Historic house Garden of the Year Award. Apart from England the other gardens were from the Welsh Marshes, County Down and the Scottish Borders. Our congratulations go to the winners Mapperton House in Devon owned by the Earl and Countess Sandwich. We finished third which is pretty astounding as we got more votes than other gardens with 5 gardening staff and open daily! And …….only 100 votes short of last years’ winners!!
Here’s a breakdown of the final scores:
|Votes||Your Choice for Garden of the Year 2020|
|2209||Wollerton Old Hall Garden|
|488||Hergest Croft Gardens|
A very big thank you to everyone who voted for us.
672 people took the trouble to write enthusiastically why they chose our garden and one of my favourites is “its charm and the fact its maintained by one little old lady and a helper”-presumably I am the little old lady but I do have a gardener 4 days a week and another 4 mornings. But when you cut through the very flattering comments surely the best in these troubled times was, “it is so special it just makes you really happy too”
Stay healthy and good gardening