Thorpe Salvin Garden Trail 2017

What an amazing year we had!  Rotherham Advertiser clearly thought so too!

I am writing this a few days after the last visitor departed from what turned out to be a very successful Garden Trail. The week prior to the weekend we had all been nervously tuned into to our weather Apps, calculating just how much of the time would be affected by rain. In contrast to their usual accuracy, this time the forecast was accurate, with drizzle beginning almost as soon as the gates opened on Saturday morning. Within an hour, the downpour was heavy and we all feared for a complete washout. However, the rain stopped to be replaced by low grey cloud and, much to our surprise, 90 hardy souls did the rounds.

Sunday dawned with clearing skies, and by mid-morning the weather was glorious. And so it continued for the rest of the day. The crowds appeared over lunch and by the close of the day 350 people had paid to enjoy the sites.

Seventeen gardens opened for visitors, only one less than last year. The feedback from all was consistently positive with comments on the imaginative use of space, the variety of plants and the high standard of upkeep. Everyone felt welcomed and many were already anticipating a return visit in 12 months’ time.

The Lunchtime Café, run by Mark and Kelsey and their extended family, was very busy and a huge success. The setting is lovely, in a secluded courtyard below the old manor ruins and the efficiency of the team meant that visitors could enjoy a break either at the beginning or the end of their visit. Well done indeed!

Thanks should go to all those involved in planning the weekend: those who so kindly gave up their time in the evenings to attend planning meetings in the weeks beforehand, those that planned the car-parking and paypoint rotas; those who helped develop the advertising campaign and who managed the list of gardens to open; those that designed and printed the excellent maps the visitors received; those who prepared and distributed the roadside signs; those who manned the carparks; and all those who prepared and tended their gardens in the dry weeks before the Trail.

Further thanks are given to both Parkgate Mobility, and Yes Mobility, Dinnington for their kind donation of 2 mobility scooters each. For those that borrowed them they enjoyed the opportunity to see the gardens without the cost of exhaustion. We also thank The Parish Council for organizing the provision of temporary toilets for the visitors, and for RMBC for arranging a street sweep of the village in the days prior to the Trail. Finally, we thank the Woodcocks for kindly letting us use the field for car-parking. We were so grateful for the space on Sunday afternoon when there were over 60 cars parked at one time.

And so another Garden Trail is complete. I hope that we all had as much fun over the weekend as I did and I look forward to next year.

Johnathan Cobb, Chair of Thorpe in Bloom