Garden visits are now on the agenda as we hopefully, head into the kind of weather that entices us away from the demands of our own patch for an hour or two.
The search is on for ideas, inspiration and reassurance that we’re abreast of others in plant growth and crop development.
But the garden visit is more than that. By the time you’ve absorbed the ornamental features, inspected fruit, vegetables and greenhouse, even walked through woodland – refreshments beckon.
It’s only when you visit the customary plant sales area there’s realisation that this has been an interesting afternoon out and jolly social occasion, in the company of like-minded enthusiasts.
The local papers, tourist information office and posters keep us up to speed with some gardens open on a regular basis, others occasionally, for a wide range of charities, over the coming months.
Horticulture caters for all tastes. I see gardens filled with ornamental plants and not a vegetable in sight – and the reverse situation.
It matters not what you grow, and the produce does not have to be of competition standard, what matters most is that you enjoy the creative contact with plants.
Promise yourself to visit gardens open one at a time throughout summer, and you’ll find that some are more than a one trick act, holding interest through each season.
Once revisiting starts and an affinity grows for a particular place, there are two positive ways of supporting it; become a paying friend or volunteer.
And make time to visit the Cherry Orchard at The Alnwick Garden, where Queen Anne’s lace and allium create a wild flower meadow effect, with a combination of azaleas and candelabra primulas on the periphery as icing on the cake.