Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Yellow Book and other signs of spring

I felt a little bit guilty when I went to the press launch of this year's Yellow Book. We were at the reception, held at the Royal Festival Hall in London, to hear how the number of gardens open for charity under the National Gardens Scheme had grown to 3,700 throughout England and Wales.
We drooled over the wonderful pictures of billowing borders and serene, lily-covered lakes, and laughed at new president Joe Swift's jokes. (He is such a huge improvement on Zac Goldsmith.)
And then I went downstairs with everyone else for a glass of wine and some canapes and talked about everything and anything except the Yellow Book. Ahem.
I don't feel too guilty because I went home and filed a story for today's paper (you can read it here). But at the time I was just too busy hearing how Emmat's pregnancy was going (very well, thank you) and meeting the Constant Gardener and talking to James A-S about plans for Malvern. Oh, and saying hello to Matthew Appleby and Graham Rice. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
For me the publication of the Yellow Book is a bit of a moment, though. Seeing the details of my garden in print is a sharp reminder that I am actually opening to the public in 199 days' time and that the days of lying around blaming my inactivity on snow and frost will soon be over.
My motto this year is to Keep On Top Of Things. This includes thinking ahead and making lists instead of succumbing to impulse in the nursery or garden centre.
It means ringing Moonlight Design, the garden lighting specialists, the minute anything goes wrong with the garden electrics instead of taking months to get around to it. Darren, the electrician, is fixing things as I write this.
It also means planning my time properly, instead of pottering around doing nothing in particular. Well, we can always hope...