Ringstead’s 40th open garden Sunday was a double celebration at the weekend, for it was also the 30th anniversary of the ordination of the village’s vicar, Fr John Bloomfield.
The theme of the flower festival in St Andrew’s Church was Ordination Stoles, which formed a backdrop to the many flower arrangements created by members of the congregation.
Alongside the flower festival, 12 residents opened their garden gates to the public and the village was crowded all day with visitors drawn to the many colourful displays.
Both lunches and teas were laid on to give visitors a chance to rest their feet and there was also a touch of a typical village fete with craft stalls, cakes and other produce plus a tombola and raffle.
Visiting all 12 gardens involved quite a bit of walking and a free mini-bus, provided by Glebe House School, was laid on for the less energetic.
On the edge of the village an added attraction was an old chalk pit on Ringstead Downs, now a restful woodland garden.
There was also the chance to take a guided walk around organic farmer, Lord Peter Melchett’s Courtyard Farm, and the nearby Ringstead Common.
Ringstead Garden Sunday is a vital fundraiser for some £70,000 is needed to repair the badly damaged interior plaster walls of the church.
“The Victorians painted ordinary emulsion over the plaster instead of lime wash,” said Fr Bloomfield.
“It was then repainted within the last 30 years and this caused more damage to the plaster because it was not able to breathe.”
Water can evaporate though lime wash, but not emulsion, allowing damp plaster to dry out.
Repair work will involve carefully taking down the plaster in sections allowing the moisture to escape. Organisers hope the event will raise in the region of £5,000.