Have you ever been on a garden tour? Last weekend my aunt Tamara threw open the gate to this lovely big old Australian house she and my uncle George have renovated in Eaglehawk on the outskirts of Bendigo in the goldfields region of Victoria. It's the same house where Terry and I have been lucky to spend our time writing up the two Australian books over recent months (and where we finished writing the Cyprus and Italy books while we planned our Australian road trip last year); the same house with the rustic kitchen where Terry does so much cooking in the evenings to keep us sated and sane (the results of which you can see on his blog Wide angles, wine and wanderlust). So Tamara threw open the doors to a horticultural group - most of them quite elderly, some of them a little frail, many of them horticultural judges, all wearing hand-written name tags - so they could tour this splendid garden. She did the same last month, at the request of the president of the Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival, and she does the same every year. Two tour groups arrived that Saturday, as they did this last weekend - just to stroll the glorious garden here. They admired specific plants, and discussed whether they were 'native' or 'exotic', they appreciated the arrangement of things, pointing at one plant and then another, and they secretly snipped clippings to take home (of course I noticed) where I guess they hoped to achieve similar wondrous results. Tamara had spent a couple of days beforehand giving the garden a general tidy, pulling weeds, watering, and sweeping paths, and that morning we put the sign up the president had provided on display out front. I didn't see the need for a sign as the group were arriving on a bus organized for them. Perhaps it was simply to formalize the event? It was nothing more than an amble about a garden after all. But to the group it was obviously a special day. Tamara didn't do a lot to prepare the garden, as I said. She said they could accept it the way it was. And they did. They absolutely delighted in strolling the garden. And who wouldn't?