GARDEN HOST FAQs
Does my garden have to be perfect?
No. We’re not after showcase gardens, our visitors are interested in real-life experiences of growing food in the urban environment, whether it be a verge, private, community, or school garden. The key criteria is that you grow food (fruits, vegetables and/or herbs) in your garden and you follow sustainable gardening practices (e.g. composting, worm farming, use of organic pest management systems). The trail is about sharing knowledge and not just about showcasing picture-perfect gardens.
Feedback from prior ticketholders indicate that they like:
- Talking to the garden owners
- Finding out about your garden projects – even the unfinished ones
- Sharing ideas about what you might have done differently
- Finding out the names of plants/vegetables they have not seen before and where they can source them
- finding out how long it took you to develop your garden to its current stage
What do I get out of it?
Apart from showing off your garden, meeting new neighbours and sharing your love of growing food, you also get to vote on the final list of our grant recipients as well as be in the draw to win some great prizes from our sponsors.
When do I open my garden?
The trail is on one weekend a year (it varies to showcase different seasons) and open from 9am to 4pm. When you register your garden you can nominate your opening hours to suit your availability, as long as it’s within the date and time range. If you know others in your area who are opening their gardens it can be useful to know their opening times. Previously, we’ve found that when there are 3-4 gardens near each other, these gardens get more visitors. If you’re not sure who’s near you – you can get in touch with each other through the Garden Host Facebook Group or if you’re not on Facebook, contact SEGT and we’ll get you in contact with your neighbours.
Who will visit my garden?
It’s a ticketed event and people have to register to come in so it is not random people off the streets. Rather, it’s people who are super interested in learning how to grow their own food and to find out more.
Do I have to let people use my toilet?
No. We direct all ticketholders to use the nearest public toilet. All you need to do is provide direction on where the nearest one is from your garden.
Can I sell food, drinks and other goods?
Note you do not have to have plants/seedlings/cuttings/seeds for sale. But if you do want to sell food, drinks or other goods when you open your garden, please read the below rules:
- Promotions of commercial businesses or sales of Goods is NOT allowed without prior permission from SEGT.
- Selling of surplus personal crops and seedlings in community and private gardens is allowed. If you are unsure, please contact SEGT before proceeding.
- Selling or serving of prepared food and drinks is not covered by our insurance and is currently not allowed. If you choose to offer food and drinks during your open garden, then you are responsible for complying with the NSW Food Act 2003, Food Standards Code and all food safety, handling and labeling laws, regulations, and guidelines, and for holding your own insurance coverage for the selling of food;
- If given permission by SEGT, you hold all necessary licenses, permits, permissions, and approvals to sell the Goods;
if applicable by law, you have registered your details with the NSW Food Authority and have read the Food Handling Guide to ensure they comply with the NSW Food Authority Food Handling Guidelines for Temporary Events and Temporary Events and Food Standards and Labelling.
How many people will turn up to my garden?
We can’t tell you how many visitors you’ll receive as it depends on a number of variables e.g. workshops you’re holding, the total number of gardens participating, weather, location of other gardens near you.
In 2021 we had 3 gardens located close to each other and these gardens received the most number of visitors over the weekend. They had about 80 visitors over the 2 days. So, if you’d like to attract more visitors we recommend getting together with any local gardens near you and opening at the same time, holding garden tours and workshops, and doing a letterbox drop around your neighborhood. If you email us, we can post some flyers for you that you can distribute in your local area.
I’m not a garden guru, I don’t think I can share my knowledge
We don’t expect you to be! We just want you to share your experiences. If you don’t know the answer just be honest about it and say you don’t know. When you register your garden, we’ll invite you to join the Garden Host Facebook Group, which is a private group where people opening their gardens can share ideas and experiences. If you don’t use Facebook, our garden host liaison person can be contacted for further info.
Do I need helpers on the day?
If you can, have at least one helper with you on the day. Then you’ll have someone to greet visitors as they arrive while you talk to others or while you do your garden tour/workshop etc. It’s also good to have someone to chat with while waiting for the next visitor. Rope in your friend, family, neighbour, or members of local groups you belong to. It’s a fun day and they’ll get to be part of inspiring others to grow their own food?
Unfortunately, with the number of open gardens and our limited resources, the SEGT team cannot organize volunteers to help you on the day.
What if I have an emergency and can no longer open my garden?
We understand emergencies and events outside of our control can occur. So just let us know as soon as possible and we’ll amend your registration.
Can I list the unique features of my garden?
Absolutely! The Garden registration form includes tick boxes of garden features and you have the opportunity to write a paragraph about your garden (to appear on the website). The more information you can provide about your garden, the better it will be for the visitors so they know what to expect.
Do I have to do tours and demonstrations?
No, this is optional. Some of our gardeners love doing demonstrations to share specific skills. If you do, it’s a way of attracting more visitors. We’ve also found, that holding garden tours at specific times (these can be specified when you register your garden) will save you having to repeat alot of the same thing over and over :).
Are we covered by insurance?
Yes, the SEGT team has public liability insurance in place to cover visitors on the SEGT weekend. We can provide you with a copy of the insurance certificate and cover details if you would like more information on this.
What about COVID?
SEGT follows all covid safe requirements. We ask that hosts follow the COVID safe measures recommended by NSW Health for outdoor events: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/business
Current NSW orders do not require visitors to outdoor events to be double vaccinated. If you choose to make it a requirement that visitors to your garden be vaccinated, you’ll need to let us know prior to the trail so this can be specified on your garden listing. You’ll also be responsible for checking the vaccination records of all visitors.
Will there be a virtual tour if the COVID situation makes physical opening challenging or impossible?
At this stage, we have no plans for a virtual trail. We may be holding a number of virtual tours of selected gardens in the lead-up to the event for promotional purposes only. If the COVID situation makes it too challenging for the trail to proceed, we are likely to postpone the event to another time.
Are we required to label the plants
Not necessarily. Having said that, if the plant is not commonly known you are likely to get questions about it from the visitors, so it may be a good idea to label them. But this is entirely up to you.
Will I have to do much garden preparation?
To make sure your garden is at its best, we recommend you start preparing for what to plant 4-6 months prior to the opening weekend. Plant something that you’d usually harvest at that time of year so visitors can see the magic that is edible gardening.
Will my address be displayed online?
The trail will be open to the public and we will have to provide your address to our ticket holders and volunteers. We may also be posting pictures and descriptions of your garden on our website and social media as part of promoting the event. However, your address will not be displayed on our website.
Am I able to restrict access to certain parts of the garden?
Absolutely, especially if you think the area is not safe for visitors. There is a large number of online resources available to garden hosts once registered, including downloadable signage for you to use on the weekend.
How can I help promote the event?
If you’re on social media, we’d love you to like our Facebook and Instagram accounts and to share and comment on our posts. You can also tag us when you post yourself using @sydneyediblegardentrail or #sydneyediblegardentrail. That way we can reshare and cross-promote.
What has been the experience of the previous Hosts?
Generally, we have had a very positive experience and a large number have continued into the following years. You can check out a couple of them here
What do I need to do if I wish to be a host?
You can register through our website: https://sydneyediblegardentrail.com/register-your-garden/
Create an account. Please note that if you registered as a host in previous years, you’ll need to create a new account as we’ve updated our registration process!
Once you’ve created an account, login using the user ID and password you created and complete the online form: https://sydneyediblegardentrail.com/membership-login/
Our volunteer garden host wrangler will then review your submission. They may ask you for further information and once reviewed will upload your registration to the website. All you need to do is wait for the SEGT weekend and enjoy welcoming interested, like-minded people to your garden!
Following the SEGT weekend, we’ll also host a Thank You party where you can meet the other garden hosts and be part of the community!