Catsfield news
Catsfield news

Christian Aid Week: This special week starts this Sunday 14th May and will end next Saturday 20th May with the popular Coffee Morning and Plant Sale which will be held in the Village Hall from 10am – 12pm, entrance 50p. There will be the usual large selection of annual, perennial and vegetable plants for sale as well as Cakes and a Raffle. Donations for all these stalls will be most gratefully received and of course refreshments will be served. The Christain Aid envelopes for donations will also be available to help this worthy charity in its good work.

Boat Race: Today is the last day to enter your team into the Catsfield Boat Race to be held on June 4th from 11am – 2pm, register at The main road will be closed between those times and the teams will be racing around the triangle of The Green, Church Lane and Church Road so do come and cheer them along. Following the races there will be a continuation of activities, refreshments and live music at the Playing Field between 2pm – 6pm and the whole day makes for a great family day out whilst raising money for three local charities.

Family Morning Service: The Parish Communion service will be at 9am this Sunday, 21st May and will be followed at 10am by the Family Morning Service. It is Rogation Sunday when God is asked to bless the crops being sown, to send rain and to give a good harvest later in the year. In days gone by, the prayers would have been said or sung as the church processed around the boundary lines of the parish. Thursday 25th May is Ascension day and there will be a service of Holy Communion as usual at 9.30am at St Laurence Church.

Great Dixter “Behind the Scenes”: (Many thanks to Victoria for this report)

The most interesting talk and slide show on Thursday evening was enjoyed by a large group from Catsfield and further afield. Catsfield Horticultural Chairperson Wendy introduced Michael Wachter to an enthusiastic audience and first we heard about and saw the many structural changes of ‘Great Dixter’ the family home of Christopher Lloyd, who devoted his lifetime to creating one of the most experimental, exciting and constantly changing gardens of our time. This castle-type house was built in the 15th century and in 1910 Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned by Christopher’s father to make several alterations, one of them being to add a further wing to the house, this was a hall house saved from destruction in Benenden. It was dismantled piece by piece and re-erected at Great Dixter.

Michael had arrived early to the hall to set up, and before the audience turned up, he proved himself to be a brilliant pianist! Whilst the heavens had opened with some welcome rain for our gardens, the public came in braving the downpour. He gave thanks to Christopher Lloyd and in turn to Fergus Garrett the head gardener, who has imparted so much knowledge to him.

We were shown fantastic pictures of the flower and meadow gardens. And then ‘behind the scenes’. Hedges get their annual cut the second week in September, The soil is produced and sterilized there. Weed killers are not used but painstakingly weeds are removed manually on hands and knees. Seeds are collected and meticulously detailed. Dead heading is carried out, with removal of unwanted shoots and branches. The winter months, when the gardens are closed to the public, are the busiest for the gardeners, as this is when everything that can be, is split and divided and stem cuttings are taken. Seeds are sown, we were shown the vast number of annual seedlings pricked out, five thousand in fact, all in cold frames that would then be potted up twice more into larger pots, ready for replanting and for sale. Everything is done in the old fashioned way.

We heard how the importance of shapes and forms of leaves, plus structure and texture was emphasised and how this is more visually appealing than even colour itself. Though wonderful examples of Euphorbias and Tulips together, Poppies and Cornflowers, Brown Fennel and Phlox, and of course at this time of year, Forget-Me-Nots that give glorious swaths of colour and texture. The wonderful thing about Great Dixter is the art of the planting. There is always something in bloom or about to happen, that makes you want to keep going back to admire the gardens. After the talk, delicious refreshments were served - well done Caroline - and several more members were signed up. There is to be an outing to Great Dixter with the date to be confirmed.

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