Katie Gardner, volunteer and previous Area Fundraiser at ellenor, has been part of our team since November 2016. Due to Katie’s previous career as a gardener before joining the ellenor team, it was a perfect match when she was asked to spearhead our Glorious Gardens programme.
1. What has been your favourite part of organising the Glorious Gardens programme for ellenor?
"Meeting some really wonderful fellow garden lovers - they are all so different. Some strive for neatness and order whilst others opt for a more ramshackle nature or wildlife garden. They say a weed is only a plant you don’t want in your garden, it seems everyone has a different perspective."
2. What has been the most challenging part of organising the Glorious Gardens programme for ellenor?
"Finding new garden owners who are willing to take the plunge; some people have beautiful gardens that deserve to be shared with other garden lovers, but they are not sure how to go about it. At ellenor we are happy for people to open to the public or just to their friends and family. There is no 'one size suits all'. We have a fundraising pack with some really helpful advice, and some hints from Radio Kent gardening guru Andy Garland. ellenor can help out with materials and equipment if needed, and we have some willing garden volunteers if you require extra pairs of hands on the day."
3. Why do you think the Glorious Gardens programme has been so popular with our supporters?
"Visiting a Glorious Garden is not like visiting a well-manicured National Trust garden. You can see planting schemes which you could achieve in your own garden, and chat to like-minded souls. If wielding a spade is not really your thing, just come and enjoy other people’s hard work. Gardens are inspirational and therapeutic – and there is always an opportunity for a nice cup of tea and slice of cake (and sometimes Pimm’s and music on the lawn!)."
4. What are some of the most interesting ways supporters have raised funds at their Glorious Garden event?
"We had some interesting speakers along to some of our gardens last year. Cobnut producer Alexander Hunt gave his visitors a fascinating insight into growing one of Kent’s oldest crops, and garden adviser Alison Marsden spoke to garden-goers about why gardening is so good for you. There have also been plant sales, raffles and some fun nature trails for the kids."
5. Any top tips on how to transform your garden into a glorious space for guests?
"There is no need to achieve perfection (unless perfection is your thing). Mowing the lawn and cutting the edges always make a garden look instantly smarter. Put any old bits of broken pots and rusty wheelbarrows round the back of the shed somewhere and maybe plant some last-minute bedding in the gaps in your flowerbeds – or move some planted pots there. Provide plenty of seating, even rugs and cushions. If you sell plants or have some interesting stalls, games or music visitors will be happy to stick around all afternoon. Most importantly, enjoy showing off what you have achieved in your garden and make sure you have enough people to help out so that you can enjoy your moment of glory."
For more information on our Glorious Gardens programme, head over to www.ellenor.org/gloriousgardens where you can download a Fundraising Pack and discover more about all the Glorious Gardens events happening this year.