Croston Gardens Are Open Again
July must be my favourite month for events taking place in Croston. To kick things off on the first day of July Croston opened its gardens to the public for the second time running. The inaugural celebration was so impressive. It was beautifully organised and it showcased many stunning gardens. It was a celebration of the village rebuilding itself after really bad flooding as I explained in my last year’s blog post .
This year Croston Open Gardens promised to be even bigger and better. There were posters and banners everywhere plus the coverage on the local radio, TV, newspapers and on social media. Croston was definitely ready to share its hidden gems with the wider public.
I was genuinely excited to see what was on offer this year. Are there any new gardens to see, have last year’s gardens grown or changed and what other surprises will await us?
Welcome to the Gardens
On a hot and sunny July morning, I am stood in the village church grounds surrounded by a steadily growing crowd of people. This is the hub for the Croston Open Gardens and the space has been turned into a lush oasis of plants and colour. The local florist is selling beautifully arranged bunches of flowers and other potting plants. There are colourful paper pom poms hanging from the trees. The local WI members are serving sumptuous cakes and the smell of pizza is permeating the air. A pop up gin and cocktail bar is offering, among other handcrafted drinks, a specially designed Open Gardens gin to celebrate this event. The bails of hay and blankets make up for seating in the picnic area and wooden pallets have cleverly been turned into low tables and decorated with little vases with fresh flowers. Even the signs are in line with this shabby chic feel of the hub. The attention to detail is absolutely astounding.
Like last year, all the proceeds from today’s event will go to the local charity Croston Together, an organisation which supports various village initiatives to bring the community together. Its principles are simple. They want to Engage, Encourage and Enrich and this is exactly what Croston Open Gardens has achieved here. Today is about celebrating this community and getting everybody involved. One of the prime examples of this is the outdoor art exhibition created by the kids form the local Primary School. The theme this year has been inspired by #crostonrocks, a fun “hide and seek” game that just keeps on going. The rules are easy, you paint a pebble and then you hide it somewhere around the village. The idea is to find the rock and then rehide it for somebody else to stumble upon it. It is a great and fun way of passing time on the walk to or from school as the pebbles can be hiding anywhere. The school kids have definitely excelled themselves with their World Cup inspired rocks. #Crostonrocks was also part of the treasure hunt this Sunday. While the parents were taking delight in the gardens, the kids had to find rocks and write letters found on them which then made up a word. It definitely had my daughter involved and exploring every corner of the gardens.
Another project turned out to be my absolute favourite and it is a pop up garden on the local recreation ground. It was designed and erected in 24hrs by the local florist (Potting Sheds) and features not only pots of gorgeous flowers and plants but actual vegetable beds with carrots and cabbages. It was absolutely stunning and inspiring as it showed what can be achieved in such a short time with a bit of teamwork. The actual reason for this pop up garden was to showcase the next stage of the development of the local recreation area where most kids in the village spend their time. The future plans will include a picnic area with trees, game area and a central focus point. It will be a place where the locals can relax or families can spend some quality time together.
Follow the Map
With my ticket, I get a beautifully hand drawn map by a Croston artist which shows the visitors where each of the gardens is situated and this year there are 13 gardens to explore and admire. There were also other places to see like the winner of the Croston Door Step Challenge or the vibrant outdoor flower display at the Black Horse pub. So with my comfy pair of shoes and plenty of sun cream the tour of the Croston Open Gardens 2018 begins…
The gardens on show are mainly situated in the centre of the village. There are a few new additions this year, like the Japanese inspired woodland meditation space or the neighbouring garden which is divided into two parts, an everyday one with the artist studio and a larger space at the back for chilling and entertaining (well, I would!). Another new addition is a little Victorian cottage themed gem just off the main street with so many colourful and vibrant plants, fruit and vegetables. Who knew it was hiding there! Some of the new gardens also displayed progress photos which I thought was a great idea. I am sure these will come back next year to showcase their completed work.
To my delight, my favourite two gardens were back on display this year. One of them was the white hydrangea themed garden on Westhead Road, although there was a bit of colour added this year which complemented the look so well. For me this garden offers such an abundance of chill out atmosphere. I also like that it has a few different sitting areas where you can admire the garden from various angles depending on the time of the day or…your mood. My other favourite was the stunning garden by the river Yarrow. I just love how much space and tranquillity this place offers. Not to mention the beautiful rose pergola that welcomes everybody at the entrance or the views of the river towards the old church.
There was so much more to see as the photo gallery shows below – It is easy to spot that I was particularly drawn to some interesting and unusual garden statues.
What a fantastic day this has been and another triumph for the Open Gardens. I feel proud to be a part of this community. Today was not only about beautiful Croston gardens but it was about pulling the community together. It was about having a common purpose to make Croston a great place to live in and knowing that we have one another covered in times of need.
Same time next year? As this year has been so inspiring I wouldn’t be surprised if we see even more beautiful gardens and projects in 2019.