How to organise a Open Gardens in 48 hours

So a couple of month ago I got involved with St Helena Hospice, a charity that I was really keen on working with. If you want to find out more visit

I got involved to help advertise their Open Gardens and I thought 'hey that sounds easy, sure I'll do one of those!'. Not long after I was just speaking to a lady about it who said that they were a lot of work, and very hard to organise. Now you'd think that after a warning like that I'd be panicking and organising like or crazy, but with a week to go, very little had been sorted apart from a few raffle prizes, and my garden was a tip! But hey I've got a whole week to sort that out so no worries! Unfortunately we had 3 days of bad weather which meant we had 48 Hours to organise our Open Gardens!!!

Thursday evening and Mum and Dad were invited for dinner/ garden tidy up. Mum cut the lawn, while Myself and Dad tidied the rest of the garden sorting out chairs and tables, sweeping away the rubbish (I'm abit of a horder, so all those un finished projects had to disappear. My wife and little Olive was busy baking some cakes sorting out tea bags (460 which perhaps was an over estimation) and asking her fantastic friends to bake some more for the weekend. After about 3 hours incredibly the garden was looking ready and the cakes were cooling down. 

By Friday there was some final bits to tidy up, some turning of soil, some pinching of tomato plants, a few colourful plants to go in.

By this time I was panicking a little bit. Not because we were not organised, but because maybe my garden wasn't the normal open gardens thing. When I think of Open Gardens, I think acres of land with 1000s of different plants from all over. I had my garden that although not small, is only really used for growing veg, my main worry was, what will people think of my garden?!?? It turns out I didn't need to worry!

Saturday morning came and the decorations went up, tea, coffee and cake were layed out and we were ready to go. I probably wouldn't have been so stressed if it wasn't for the fact I accidently cracked my outside toilet half hour before opening, leaving me to super glue it back together.. it still leaked.

12pm arrived and so did our guests. We chose to do invite only for our event to control how many people came. We had many of our neighbours family and friends and it all went without a hitch and we raised £372 in 4 hours! And we enjoyed it. So what are my top tips for organising a Open Gardens in 48 hours?..

1) Core Team - Don't go it alone, you can't do it all, so have some fantastic support from family really helps!

2) Garden Blitz - Get the family over for a garden blitz, tidying beds and cutting grass really makes a difference. 

3) Raffle help - Call in some favours from friends and family a few weeks before hand for some raffle prizes. 

4) Big shop - We literally live in an age where we can walk in to a shop or order online and have decorations the next day, but 24 hours before you should have all these. 

5) Remember everyone coming is here to raise money for charity and have a good time, so don't be too crictical of yourself or your garden.

6) Enjoy it - it's a time to make new friends, welcome Nan and grandad over, and explain to your neighbours why on earth you've got an old London cab in your garden.

The time for Open Gardens is coming to an end, or so they say! My next one will be next Feb, out of season, and in the evening, lighting up the winter delights. It doesn't matter if you've got a 2 acre field or a 2 meter balcony, everyone can get involved, anytime of the year, to raise money for a great cause!

Thank you to everyone that visited! See you next year!

Lee Connelly