Hints For Gardeners

This is by no means a “must do” list, just some hints and suggestions to help the day run smoothly.

1.    Welcome Table

Have a “Welcome Table” set up in a prominent spot as visitors first enter the garden.  You can have information on the garden, Gardivalia brochures etc. Important:  Have a nominated person in charge of selling tickets and answering any questions.  You will be too busy talking to visitors!

2.    Talk to your visitors – they are visiting not only to see the garden but to interact with you.

3.    Photo Board/Album

You may have photographs showing the development of your garden.  These can be displayed on a photo board or in an album for visitors to enjoy. 

4.    Volunteers

Ask family and friends to help. (Someone to take the tickets/money.  Someone to serve refreshments if applicable, someone to be in different parts of your garden). You can’t be everywhere at once and people will want to talk to you.

5.    IMPORTANT:  History of your garden 

Visitors love to know the background of your garden.  Some ideas of what to write is a brief description of the garden, style, the inspiration behind its design, the names of unusual plants, how old the garden is etc. This will save you answering the same questions over and over again.  Ask for the information sheet to be returned as they leave to reuse throughout the day. A copy can be laminated and put up for visitors to read.

6.    Pets 

If you have pets you may need to consider where they will be happiest, considering the number of strangers visiting.

7.    Security 

Ensure that sheds, garages and your home are locked.  Areas are clearly signed and/or barricaded off.  Have a secure place for entry money.

8.    Risk Assessment 

Using the checklist provided conduct a risk assessment of your garden and determine what action needs to be taken.

9.    Demonstrations - Children’s activities – Events – Visiting artists

If you are providing events/demonstrations or children’s activities the person at the Welcome entry table will need to point those out to the visitors. Or a flyer at the entry table showing times of the activity or demonstration. Such as how to propagate, prune, take cuttings, soil management, compost etc. Children’s activities could be a table with paper, colouring in and pencils or textas. Lucky dip (Op shop may be happy to donate gifts), a page of things for children to look for in the garden that they can tick off. A playground set. These are just a few ideas to keep children happy.


Suggested Timetable


Two weeks before:

·         Plan how you are going to organise your open days

·         Contact any helpers you will need and charities who will be involved

·         Notify your neighbours of extra traffic on the day/s

·         Prune hedges if you wish to avoid the “just clipped look”

·         Fill out risk assessment if you have not already done so

·         Place posters in local businesses or community notice boards.

·         Pick up banners, tickets, booklets etc., from Gardivalia if you haven’t already done so.

One week before:

·         Prepare your photo board if you are having one

·         Prepare and copy garden notes if using

·         Prepare a notice for any special events, visiting artists, demonstrations, children’s activities

·         Prepare any other signs you may need in your garden

·         Ensure off limits areas can be secured

·         Make up a volunteer roster and contact helpers

Two days before:

·         Mow lawns

·         Work out where you will place your banner and arrow signs

·         Establish location of welcome table and any charity stalls

·         Have plenty of change in a float ready for ticket and raffle ticket sales

·         Have a container with pens, sticky tape and scissors handy for the table.

The day before:

·         Assemble all the items for your welcome table and have a dry run setting it up

·         Put away any garden tools, hoses, toys etc

·         Secure any areas or hazards as identified in your risk assessment

·         Put up your arrow signs

·         Put up any plant signs if using them

The morning of your opening:

·         Have a hearty breakfast

·         Sweep paths and do a last minute check/risk assessment

·         Put up your banner

·         Set up the welcome table

·         Take a deep breath, smile and enjoy yourself!

When it’s all over:

·         Have a cuppa!

·         Take down your arrows and banner

·         Fill out the feedback sheet and return to Gardivalia with tickets, money & banner

Gardivalia Festival of Gardens
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