Yesterday’s Open Garden Day was a fabulously exhausting experience. Some 325 people attended, and the feed-back was incredibly positive. Best of all, we raised over $6000 for the Massawippi Foundation — which means we can keep building trails through the land we’ve conserved, opening to the public a beautiful area previously inaccessible and helping more and more people appreciate the richness that surrounds us.
There were only a few wrinkles, and thankfully not one was serious. We learned some things that will make next year’s Open Day even better — that is, assuming this Open Garden Day fundraiser becomes an annual event. That isn’t a sure thing yet. Having people wander through places that are normally private is an imposition on family members and neighbours, so before continuing I need to consult them. But based on yesterday’s success, I am hoping they will agree.
Yesterday was fabulous in many ways. People enjoyed being here, and that is always a confidence booster. But for me, one of the highlights was the support of so many community volunteers. Some were friends, some were people I didn’t know, who I hope will become friends. All pitched in to help.
We received excellent press coverage as well. Articles that ran in Quebec newspapers generated enormous interest, proving to me that newspapers still do the job they are meant to do, informing the general public about current affairs and giving prominence to issues of local concern.
Susan Schwartz wrote about Glen Villa and the Massawippi Foundation in the Montreal Gazette in an article titled “History in a Garden.” The print edition carried a photo of me on the China Terrace, my tribute to Glen Villa Inn, the resort hotel that once stood on the property. The online edition has many more photos by the talented photographer Allen McInnes.
Gordon Lambie’s front-page piece in The Sherbrooke Record highlighted the work of the Massawippi Foundation and how the public trails now being built relate to my approach to garden design, letting the past speak to the present.
Social media played a big part in spreading the word. Local and provincial websites ran teasers for the event; garden clubs and horticultural societies announced the event to their members and I even saw (heard?) a tweet or two.
That’s not all. The Galloping Gardener, a garden writer based in England whose blog is read in countries around the world, wrote about Glen Villa after she visited the garden in late June, describing Glen Villa as
“an unusual garden that truly reflects the personality of its owners; it is both inspiring and uplifting – and a rare find these days.”
Without question, Glen Villa is an unusual garden so it gives me particular pleasure when people understand and appreciate what I’m trying to achieve. Offers to help poured in from people who live in the little village of North Hatley (pop. 650 or so!) and from summer visitors who come here year after year. Many come from the U.S., and the final bit of press coverage we received should hit home with them, as it comes from the American garden magazine, Garden Design.
Publisher Jim Peterson has kindly offered to donate US $12 for every subscription that comes in with the code Glen Villa. I can vouch for the quality of the publication — 148 colour-filled pages that come to you four times a year, full of useful information and interesting gardens, with nary an ad in sight.
So wherever you live, if you couldn’t make it to Glen Villa yesterday, know that a subscription (gardendesign.com/glenvilla) is another way to support land conservation and public trails, meaningful projects for anyone who loves gardens and nature.
If you’d like advance notice of another Open Garden Day, please let me know. By subscribing to this blog, your name automatically goes onto a mailing list and you’ll keep on top of all the garden news.
And hold your hats for a post coming soon about The Upper Room, an area that yesterday was shown as a work in progress!