In May the sharp-eyed among you may have noticed a long strip of yellow dying grass on a bank just behind the vicarage fence. It has disappeared now and forms part of an experimental project to develop a wildflower area in our lovely churchyard. Part of the bank was planted with plugs of perennial wildflowers and the area where the grass was killed off and dug was seeded with annuals.
The hard work is being carried out by a group of enthusiastic volunteers from the U3A Wildlife group under the expert guidance of a botanist from Surrey Wildlife Trust, and with some help from local people.
All the plugs have been provided by group members themselves and the whole project is a wonderful example of community resourcefulness. The Secretary of Banstead Horticultural Society is making sure that the bank forms part of the Banstead in Bloom competition entry. Judging for this is in mid-July, by which time the area should be very attractive as well as benefiting bees and other pollinators, and the borders fronting the High Street will have been cleared and planted by Horticultural Society members.
Those of you who walk near the back of the council car park will have been impressed by the beautiful work of the Briarwood resident who works from his wheelchair, and in the Orchard we have all enjoyed the purple crocuses provided by the Rotary Club to commemorate the elimination of smallpox and planted by children from Banstead Junior School and others. More planting is planned for this autumn. By November the Orchard should be full of handmade poppies created to commemorate the end of the First World War.
Our Orchard and churchyard host major village events – the Banstead Business Guild Christmas Event, the May Fayre and the Rotary Club’s Village Day – and form the background of many individual sorrows and joys. The churchyard is a wonderful oasis of calm, appreciated each day by so many who pass through.
Few people realise, however, how much the maintenance costs the church – one thousand pounds each time the churchyard is strimmed. Work to keep the numerous trees safe is also expensive. Many individuals play a vital role in doing the day to day work and maintaining its beauty.
Expanding the part played by the wider community may help to minimise the perennial problems of litter and bad behaviour. If you would be interested in joining a group to help maintain the churchyard, Sue and Janice in the Parish Office would be pleased to hear from you (contact email@example.com or 01737 355168).
Sue Hassanein, Churchyard Manager (Drawings thanks to Claire Petrie)