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Bridget is Ringstead Open Gardens star





Sunday, June 24 sees Ringstead Open Gardens enter its fifth decade of fundraising for their village church with a blaze of colour, cakes and community spirit!

One of the most popular gardens is Apple Tree Cottage, where Bridget Crowfoot also hosts her annual Plant Sale, writes Jane Jarvis.

Bridget’s enthusiasm and passion for gardening will most certainly inspire you and, as you tour the village, you will most probably find a bit of Bridget in every border!

One of the most popular gardens is Apple Tree Cottage, where Bridget Crowfoot also hosts her annual Plant Sale. (2531269)
One of the most popular gardens is Apple Tree Cottage, where Bridget Crowfoot also hosts her annual Plant Sale. (2531269)

Bridget and Tony Crowfoot moved to Apple Tree Cottage, Ringstead in 1991 to a house that had stood empty surrounded by two acres of wilderness and brambles – “but the soil underneath was good,” Bridget explains.

Tony retired from the army which had taken the family around the world. Meanwhile Bridget had pursued her passion for plants.

But it was settling in to Ringstead where she really got down to work with Tony and his military precision for straight lines, they developed mirrored borders and manicured lawns. After Tony died, Bridget, now in her 80s, has been devoted to their special garden, propagating her plants and sharing them with the village.

She added: “I can’t go a day without going in the garden – and there’s always a job to do – outside or in the greenhouse.”

Many gardens in the village have benefitted from Bridget’s input including the Old Rectory, one of the ‘must see’ gardens opening specially on June 24, courtesy of Ben and Sara Stocks.

The deep borders of the walled garden host many of Bridget’s plants. The South American Iochroma australe, Blue Angel’s Trumpet, does not usually grow outside well in the UK but it seems to have settled well in the Stocks’ crinkle walled garden.

Ringstead resident, Antoinette Eugster, who took this photo of Bridget as a special tribute for all her support for the village, is another beneficiary with an array of agapanthus in her garden whilst The Bury’s display of red bistort ‘superba’, amongst many other plants, also came courtesy of Bridget.

Touring the garden at Apple Tree Cottage, Bridget points out the trees she has planted over the years for each of her nine grandchildren and others to commemorate each wedding of her four children.

People return every year to her garden and stall, and she added: “I love opening the garden and welcoming people, you don’t invite people into your garden and ignore them! – I love to engage with them, it’s like having a dinner party!”

With a variety of gardens on show, Ringstead Open Garden has the added attraction of an art exhibition, a guided walk by Lord Peter Melchett round Courtyard Farm and Ringstead Common and a Flower Festival in St Andrew’s Church (on Sunday and Monday).

As well as opening the garden, The Bury hosts garden lunches 12-2pm (to book, please call 07770 262546 - £10 per head) and teas and tombola (from 11am-5pm), with homemade cakes on offer at Westgate House.

Other refreshments will be provided by mobile catering ‘On the Hoof’ in the Village Hall car park.

A free minibus will give transport around the village if needed – courtesy of a Ringstead resident. Gardens throughout the village will be open from 11am to 5pm; and £5 admits one to all gardens.

Facebook page: ringsteadopengardens



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