The sun will come out . . . eventually

PUBLISHED: 12:52 22 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:52 22 July 2014

John McMinn's open garden

John McMinn's open garden


John McMinn invites you for tea and cake in his English country garden

All over the country at this time of year, houses are throwing open their doors or rather their garden gates to welcome the curious, the passionate, the green fingered and the basically nosey. It’s open garden season again when we all get to have a look at the gardens across the length and breadth of the country.

Here at Oak Tree Farm we are no different and decided to open our farm gate for the first time for all the world to see in aid of the Yoxford Open Gardens. Not content with just showing off our magnificent sweeping herbaceous borders (there aren’t any yet) and our immaculate lawn (if being full of dock, thistle and buttercup constitutes an immaculate lawn) we are doing tea and cake underneath the magnificent oak tree which gives our farm its name.

We weren’t prepared for the logistical nightmare that is involved in organising the cake makers of Yoxford to bake on our behalf. We had to ensure there was enough cake to last the marathon six-hour stretch, unsure of how hungry garden lovers would be. This required a comprehensive list of cakes a spreadsheet for scones and a table of slices which would keep hunger at bay on the long trawl around the village gardens.

We, like everyone else, opened our garden to the world without giving a second thought to the possible weather conditions which might ensue.

This collective amnesia, as we all know, is typical British behaviour developed over hundreds of years. We organise outdoor activities imagining that once it’s the first day of “flaming June” we will have weeks of uninterrupted, glorious sunny weather culminating in a hot bank holiday, then winter until May.

Never in the history of this country, since the ice cap receded 10,000 years ago, has the weather been that predictable, but we carry on as though we live on an equatorial oasis in the middle of the North Atlantic where the sun always shines, there is no wind and we perform traditional dances for boat loads of tourists.

We know full well that there is a good chance that the any event will take place under umbrellas, with hardy souls crammed into a tiny gazebo during a deluge, pretending to enjoy the soggy gardens with their water laden delphiniums, while drinking tea and eating cake with rain pouring down. There is a general feeling that sour strawberries and cream washed down with lukewarm tea and a piece of lemon drizzle somehow compensates for the miserable weather that is our climatic destiny.

Fortunately for us our open gardens took place on a beautiful day in June. Still, as we know, our gardens would not be what they are without our infamous British weather and we in the east can’t complain too much. We just have to console ourselves that having survived thousands of years being wet, our bodies are perfectly well adapted to survive whatever the climate throws at us and we will keep on going to view open gardens in the summer whatever the weather.

Keep smiling!

John McMinn runs Oak Tree Farm B&B at Yoxford

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