Our Open Garden weekend for Amnesty is over for this year. The sun that has been shining relentlessly on us for many weeks, decided not to make an appearance. Instead we got blustery; wet conditions much like last year. Our marquees were threatening to blow away and we had to bring out the six inch nails and the large roll of duct tape to make a few emergency repairs.
We did not mind too much though. The rain was very much needed and thankfully quite a few people decided to brave the elements and venture out anyway.
We had visitors from Offaly, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and very likely some other counties as well. If the sun had been shining, we are sure the number of guests would have greatly increased. Small numbers brought its own advantages though, as we had time to talk to most visitors and bring them around the garden and into our eco-buildings. It was wonderful to get to know new people, some living close by and some from further afield. We have been invited to visit many of them to see their gardens in return and to swap plants, ideas and inspiration. That is probably the thing we like most about opening our garden to the public, the connections it brings with other likeminded individuals.
Our AmnesTEA café was popular and we wish to say a special thanks to Jacqueline and Rose who contributed with Coffee-Walnut squares and Dutch Spice Cake.
The kittens proved popular with the younger visitors, as did the tree house and the village for the little people.
We were engaged in conversation continuously and the camera was forgotten in a corner. You will have to imagine what the place looked like, filled with young people, older people, laughter, conversations and refreshment.
The weekend will definitely go down fondly in our memories, something to think about in the depth of winter, when the garden, as well as ourselves have slowed down to a more restful pace.
The idea behind the weekend is to show solidarity with people less fortunate by collecting donations for Amnesty International Ireland so that they can continue their much needed work all around the world. We collected over €315 at the weekend and we are very grateful for every single donation. All the money will be sent to Amnesty shortly.
But opening the garden also brings many other positive aspects to the people who attend and to us, who get to meet them all. We all live in an unstable world, where bad politics, greed and climate change all make their marks. It is more important than ever to get together, share ideas and friendship and strengthen the local community. Growing food, creating wildlife habitats and enjoying time spent close to nature all help in creating a more sustainable future. We wish to thank everyone who contributed and took part in the weekend. It was a beautiful gathering.