As Secretary of a long established Horticultural Society (Barrhead and District) I find arranging the programme of summer garden visits quite a challenge. Some people don’t want to travel very far but they want to see something new and inspirational that they haven’t been to before. Some members work on Saturdays; others have duties to perform at the kirk on Sundays. The ladies quite like to go in a coach but the men like to drive their own cars. Evening visits are fine as long as there are no midges. The quality of tea and home baking on offer is every bit as important as the quality of the herbaceous borders at any possible venue. I am sure these considerations will be familiar to most secretaries.
Because of the enormous costs of hiring a coach, we now only do it once a year. This year we joined forces with our local Historical Association and had a joint excursion to Kellie Castle and gardens in Fife. That proved very successful and having a large number of participants kept the unit cost down. It was a beautiful day, there was a lot to see, both inside and outside the castle. The tea-room met with approval and the coach was comfortable. We have agreed to think about a joint excursion again next year.
For other visits we gather in the carpark of the building where we hold our indoor meetings. Then we can arrange car-sharing with as few vehicles as possible sallying forth because not all venues have infinite parking space.
After reading in the Scottish Garden Forum newsletter about the new hosta named for Andy Murrray, the hosta walk and the Gardens Open Day in Dunblane, we decided to make that one of our visits and were very pleased that we did.
Our August outing was to a garden much closer to home. It was an afternoon well spent at the beautifully landscaped garden of Kirkmuir Cottage near Stewarton (where both the planting and the baking lived up to expectations) and in the relatively new Stewarton allotments where we were really impressed by the size, quality and variety of vegetables being grown. The allotments are on good, fertile soil on the bank of the river Annick and East Ayrshire Council delivers compost by the lorry load. This was the visit that had the biggest number of participants so that is something to bear in mind for next year.
Irene Hughson (Secretary, Barrhead and District Horticultural Society)
To add your own experience of organising trips or to ask Irene a question, Leave a Reply below.