Opening your garden involves several stages.
The first is innocent enough. Naturally, you're thrilled and flattered that a group - in my case, Bathurst Gardeners' Club - wishes to include your garden with their annual open garden weekend.
The event is nearly a year away - enough time to get everything up to scratch. For a few weeks, you remain in this state of blissful confidence.
Then you realise what you've taken on.
It's an excellent idea at this point to list what needs doing. My lists invariably stay in my head, not a good idea, as without confronting a written reminder you don't prioritise.
But by now, it was autumn and winter lay ahead to get things into shape.
I beavered away happily, digging, planting, pruning, weeding, mulching, and then relaxed until one night when my failure to prioritise hit me. The awful closing in stage had arrived when I saw how much needed doing.
Housework went by the board, the dishwasher remained unemptied for days at a time and ironing was something I relegated until my grandchildren had finished school and possibly university.
But somehow or other, we managed it.
A shower nearly prevented Bill from mowing the lawn on the Friday afternoon and a late frost threatened my newly planted petunias, but then the wind dropped and luckily, the sun shone all weekend.
I love sharing the garden and talking to like-minded devotees. It's always a special pleasure to meet readers of this column, so thank you all for coming - talking to you was all was the highlight of my weekend.
Luckily, my memory didn't desert me when it came to plant names, though two people did reduce me to confusion over the difference between Boston ivy and Virginia creeper.
I think we got it right in the end - Boston ivy has a three-pointed, ivy-shaped leaf, while Virginia creeper's leaf is made up of five leaflets.
A secondary reward, after the pleasure of a weekend meeting so many enthusiastic gardeners, is seeing your garden looking its best.
Few things beat that lovely glass of wine on the verandah when it's all over, the lawn and flowers below you, peaceful in the evening light.
But now it's time to tie up the Lamarque rose, divide the irises and pick the sweet peas so they'll keep flowering. Gardeners are only really happy when they're gardening.
Find a Garden Clubs of Australia affiliated club, by visiting gardenclubs.org.au
Rockley Gardens and Art Festival takes place on November 11-12 and includes open gardens, art trail and an art exhibition in Rockley School of Arts Hall, tickets $15, rockleygardensandart.weebly.com
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