On Safari In Burgess Hill
by Robert Veitch
When I approached the home of Cathy Barnett, it was unmistakably a house owned by someone who loved to be in the garden. It was a veritable smorgasbord of greenery, on the cusp of blossoming into the vibrant colours of summer. A scenario quite easily complemented by Cathy’s engaging, bubbly personality. “Burgess Hill, has a good sense of community,” she said as she began to tell me about the upcoming Garden Safari, on the afternoon of Sunday 12th July.
Burgess Hill in Bloom is a Community Group, partly sponsored by Burgess Hill Town Council plus fundraising. From this event, around ten gardens are invited to take part in the Garden Safari, which is sponsored by Present Company this year. They might not necessarily be the winning gardens, but they are gardens that are interesting, different, large, small, traditional or quirky; gardens that provide a broad spectrum of colour and variety of style across the town. “And we’ve never had to advertise for gardens,” Cathy reflected.
Those who wish to go on safari, can purchase a map on the day for £4 (children are free) and then from 1:00-5:30pm they can tour the gardens at leisure. “We put balloons on the gates of the gardens in safari, so they are easy to find,” Cathy told me.
“There is no competition, there is no voting,” said Cathy. It’s an opportunity to look at other people’s gardens, chat to gardeners, share a cup of tea – and all in wonderful surroundings. “Even as organiser, I get to see the other gardens, pick other brains and nab an idea or two. Everyone is nosey!”
After the Safari, the gardeners and those who have been on safari have the opportunity to get together at a local pub, to draw the winning raffle tickets and to enjoy a buffet. “We’re a very friendly bunch here,” said Cathy beaming happily. The profits from the raffle and sales of the maps are split evenly between St Peter & St James Hospice and Mid Downs Radio. Last year £500 was raised to benefit these good causes. This year, Mid Downs Radio are promoting the event over the airwaves, just as they have done in the past.
Cathy laughed as she remembered, “Last year a lady arrived at one garden where cream cakes were being offered to visitors. This lady came with a rug, and gladly accepted a cake or two. She promptly unrolled the rug and removed a few clothes, although thankfully not quite all of them. To the astonishment of the home owner, she then indulged in a little sunbathing.” All of which goes to prove that when you go on safari, you can never be sure of what you might see.
Burgess Hill in Bloom
For further information please contact Cathy Barnett on 01444 244617 or email firstname.lastname@example.org