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Carolyn McCutchan (nee Greaves)
23 Dec 1942 to 22 Dec 2019

Carolyn was the eldest daughter of Ken and Stella Greaves, who ran a market garden at Hankham Nr Pevensey.

She always loved the countryside and animals, so during her spare childhood moments helped on a local farm. This love of farming she acquired meant after leaving school, she enrolled for a year’s course of General Agriculture at Plumpton College.

She also joined the Hailsham Young Farmers where she and John first met. It was a case of ‘love at first sight’ for both of them, so on March 23 1963 they were married! 

It lasted nearly 57 years until Carolyn finally succumbed to Hodgkinson Lymphoma, which she had stoically fought for 7 long years.

In 1968 she and John swapped Tyehill Cottage just up the road from the larger Bates Green Farmhouse, where John’s mother who then was living alone as a widow. Carolyn & John who already had a son Stuart and daughter Julia, then at Bates Green had two further daughters Philippa and Vanessa, who continue to live at Bates Green with their families.

Once the children were older, Carolyn enrolled at a Garden Design course run by Brian Meldron, which inspired her to alter the garden at Bates Green, which had not changed since her father in law had purchased Bates Green in the 1920’s. She joined the Sussex Hardy Plant Society and over the years and became a self taught Plantswoman. This was achieved by extensive reading and visiting literally hundreds of gardens both in the South East and further afield. Her gift of having an encyclopaedic memory of plant names not only in English but Latin, was quickly respected by her peers.

Developing Bates Green Garden quickly become her passion, spending all her available time tending it, so with her colour sense and ‘green fingers’, meant changing plant combinations was an annual ritual! How true was her saying that she was an artist, using the garden as her canvas, aways searching for perfection but never quite achieving it!

She enjoyed sharing her naturalistic style of gardening with other enthusiast gardeners, and revelled when she sourced many unusual plants including trees and shrubs, now thriving in her garden. Various gardening magazines featured her garden and she regularly opened for the NGS over a period of 27 years.

It was Carolyn’s idea to open Beatons Wood in 1972, when the bluebells were in flower to raise money for charity. Fifty years later it has raised £1,000,000 for over 80 local charities and is now nationally known. Her interests included being a long term member of the Concentus Choir, and in acknowledgement of all she did locally, there is a bespoke weathervane featuring her pushing a wheelbarrow through bluebells, which is mounted on the roof of the Arlington Village Hall.

Sadly in 2011 she became unwell and was losing her energy, so she found it difficult to garden to her high standard, and then was diagnosed with cancer. It meant her much loved garden was deteriorating over this period, until Emma Reece who had been a WRAG student under Carolyn in 2001, came back and restored it back to its former glory. It is now a RHS Partner Garden, their third one in East Sussex.

Bates Green Farm


Polegate, East Sussex

BN26 6SH


+44 (0)7818 888440

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