My son finally completed his Gold DofE last year. There was a lot of excitement when the invitation to Buckingham Palace arrived at the end of February. This year is the 60th anniversary of the DofE and recipients were offered the chance to bring two guests (instead of the usual one) if one of the guests signed up to the DofE Diamond Challenge. My husband thought it would be a great idea if I signed up and suggested the idea of opening our garden for my challenge.
It seemed like a good idea at the time (late winter as there was plenty of time until June). We had a wonderful sunny day at the Palace and met some truly inspirational people. It was all going well until the Countess of Wessex stopped at our group and asked who was doing the DofE Diamond Challenge. One guest was walking all the way around the Isle of Wight; another had cycled 365 miles. When the Countess asked what I was doing; I felt a bit of a ‘fraud’ compared to the heroic challenges being undertaken by others.
But having made the commitment I had to keep my promise. Nature plays a big part in gardening and this year the weather didn’t help; we had the coldest April followed by the wettest and coldest May. I had planned to open my garden on Friday 3 June for the DofE Diamond Challenge, and everything was about 2 weeks behind – roses that would usually be in flower were still tightly bunched but luckily other plants which should have been long over like Anrthiscus sylvestris ‘ Ravenswing’ were still flowering
The morning arrived and it was a cool day but it didn’t rain. Friends made lovely cakes and scones and there were plenty of plants for sale. 35 people attended the event which I was delighted about. All enjoyed the garden and many braved the cold and sat with their coats on while they had their tea and cakes. A few people asked if it would be opening again to which I duly replied ‘no’ as it is a huge amount of work and you are completely in the hands of nature as to what will be in flower. However, I am delighted to say I raised £195.50 for the DofE diamond challenge which will be put to good use to help inspire young people to discover their true potential. I also now have the utmost admiration for others who have been brave enough to open their gardens.
I am a qualified garden designer with a keen interest in contemporary, natural and traditional gardens. You can find me on Twitter of like my Facebook page where you will find lots of tips related to gardening.