The Storrington in Bloom volunteers are stepping up their game this year, after winning Silver Gilt last year in the National In Bloom competition, and introducing some new innovations.
Fourteen new lamp post planters, together with some new hanging baskets, all funded by traders’ sponsorship are now all in flower, and volunteers have filled flower beds in car parks, the Mill Square precinct and Old Mill Drive.
Litter picking and clean-up days are taking place to ensure that the village of Storrington is welcoming for both residents and visitors alike, and also for the South East In Bloom judges visiting in early July.
A premier event, and a first for this year, is the Open Gardens, in which 3 gardens will be taking part to raise funds for local Macmillan, Worthing Hospital and Storrington in Bloom.
This is for one day only, on Sunday July 13 from 2pm – 5pm.
Tickets are £4 for entry to all three gardens, and are available at the gates of all three, and in addition from the Village florist, Fowlers Estate Agents and the Card Centre. Children under 10 are free.
For further information please contact Chris or David on 01903 746101.
The three gardens are:
l Thyme Cottage, Melton Drive
Janet the owner, who moved here 10 years ago, has worked hard to ensure that this garden has slowly evolved since the bungalow was originally built in the 1950s.
The garden is all accessible to wheelchair users, with level paths and some raised beds. The open fields beyond add to the tranquil atmosphere of this peaceful garden.
A few fun elements have been introduced, especially for Janet’s grandchildren, and there is a wild flower meadow along with Buttercup the cow.
Tea and home-made cakes will be available for sale.
l Stocks, Amberley Road
After a number of years competing and winning London In Bloom, and achieving the finals of the BBC Gardener of the Year competition, Chris and David moved to Storrington from a suburban garden in Sutton, Surrey, seven years ago.
Situated in what was once a deciduous woodland, their new home proved quite a challenge, resulting in Chris deciding to retire off most of the plants she found, and begin with a clean slate!
At Just under ¼ acre Stocks, in Amberley Road as you leave Storrington heading west, is situated on a north west facing slope, and contains 3 mature 200 year old oak trees. The garden is surrounded by pines and conifers, creating shade and dappled sunlit areas.
This shady plantsman’s garden has therefore been built up from a bare canvas over the last 7 years, with a particular emphasis on colour and texture from a wide range of shrubs interspersed with perennials.
The patio spills out from a wide fully glazed conservatory, and is a mass of annual colour. Many of these plants have been propagated using both Chris’s greenhouse, conservatory and an outside nursery area to the side of the house.
Chris enjoys the challenge of seeking out unusual plants, sometimes growing them from seed, and relishes the achievement of enabling many varieties to grow and flourish in her garden.
A comprehensive selection of plants will be for sale.
l The Gables, Kithurst Park
Dianne and Brian have developed a garden with plenty of interest, after its initial landscaping for the previous owners.
One of the main features of the rear garden is the pergola, bearing a well established black grape which has heavily fruited each year, yielding over 50 kilos last year, from which Dianne has produced a grape cordial which is on sale at the weekly Storrington Community Market.
The vine and pergola provide welcome shading on the seating area below.
The garden has several beds around the lawn with progressive flowering throughout the year and includes a water feature with fountain and rockery.
A recent change has been the removal of some very old leylandii across the back fence affording more light in and allowing the newly planted bed to develop and flourish.
Buried in among the leylandii was a lovely old bird house table which is now restored elsewhere in the garden greatly appreciated by the birds. From the patio your gaze is drawn to the beautiful views of the fields and hills of the South Downs, the character of which changes with the seasons.
Teas and home-made cakes will be available for sale.
There will be ample signs along the roads into Storrington, and with further arrows directing enthusiasts, there should be no difficulty in locating all three.
The tickets for each garden have a map on the reverse, and if this year’s open gardens are a success, then who knows, perhaps more will open their gates to visitors in 2015.
Report and pictures contributed by David Wright.