Ray and Joy’s Great British Garden Party: “We were left with a real sense of satisfaction.”

Ray and Joy Monk usually open their garden at 3 Osmond Close in Crawley as part of a group but, due to Covid-19, the group opening didn’t happen this year. Not to miss an opportunity to share their garden and raise funds for National Garden Scheme beneficiaries they chose instead to host a Great British Garden Party.

“I wanted to do what we had set out to do and the Great British Garden Party seemed the perfect opportunity for us. It was lovely to invite friends and neighbours to a more informal event,”  says Joy.

They sent out personalised invitations to friends and neighbours and were delighted to welcome 31 people on the day.


“Our guests came for a particular 1-hour time slot and we were very comfortable with this number which allowed us to socially distance effectively. We used some of the materials available from the National Garden Scheme website including the 2 metre distancing signs and the Help Support Our Nurses poster. We also made sure that the need to adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines was clear on the invitations. Everyone was sensible and as a result we all felt very comfortable.” 

With seating in two’s nicely spaced so that guests could sit and take refreshment and look at different elements of the garden and a friend helping to serve the food wearing masks and gloves, they also had sanitiser gel and hand wipes available. 


“The garden party was as much about getting together and enjoying the cake as the garden!  We served carrot cake, chocolate cake, coffee and walnut cake and a Victoria sponge – we suggested a donation of £2.50 but it was up to individuals how much they chose to give. And the leftovers were bagged up and taken home by our visitors for a donation. We also sold plants on the day which was really popular.”

Despite a brief shower of rain Ray and Joy and all their guests had a really good day. “We were left with a real sense of satisfaction, having completed what we set out to do this year. And feedback from guests was equally positive – the cakes were a hit!”

“Our recommendation to anyone thinking of hosting a party – don’t worry, just do it.  Using the onehour time slot approach we found easy and our efforts to focus on quality, not only on the plants but also every aspect of the garden was appreciated by those who attended. We also had time to speak with everyone and there were a good many questions on the garden planting and individual plants.”

For more information about hosting a safe, socially distanced garden party read our guide here




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