As July 15 approached, volunteers in Storrington were ensuring that all the displays in the town were just so, and the town presented a brilliant impression to the South East in Bloom judges.
The Clean Up Day had occurred a week before, with volunteers sweeping, weeding, and litter picking before they were happy with the result. The Itinerary for the judging day was meticulously planned by Jo Newington, owner of the Village Florist and coordinator of Storrington In Bloom, with timed stops along a route around the town, including other key volunteers to talk on specific projects.
The judges arrived on time at 9.30am, and were greeted by Jo Newington, Cherril Castle, Pat Mansbridge, David Wright and Councillor Jim Sanson. Over tea and coffee, the scene was set by Jo, who then advised the judges of the group’s plans for 2015.
The walk commenced, viewing the displays in Place Villerest, the edible planting in Old Mill Drive, children’s herb planting in the Mill Square precinct, and of course the successful Wheelbarrow Challenge entrants.
Beautiful spots as Brewers Yard, the Mill Pond and Riverside Walk were also included, after which they were picked up in the community Minibus by David, in the Library car park, to travel to Meadowside to see and hear about the conservation work around the chalk stream from Sue Shelton and Rachel Swansborough.
This ensured that the group reached their destination in time, and then could travel onwards from Meadowside through School Lane to the Amberley Road Allotments, their next stop, where John Duggan explained the ethos of the plot holders there.
The bus ride even extended around the corner to the Village Pond, where Parish Council Maintenance Manager Tim Laker, together with his regular local helpers Archie Crutchlow and Bernie Iles explained the continuing improvements being made to the area.
Driving on past the Leisure Centre along Spierbridge Road, the judging party stopped to view a local finalist in the Best Front Garden category, and also took in the pretty, 200 year old Rope Makers cottages along North Street.
Their final stop was the Little Footsteps Family Centre, displaying their tractor, trailer, and welly boot container plants, after which the H2O2Go watering cart’s clever design, essential equipment for any successful flowering display, was explained.
With the bus dismissed, all that remained was to reach the Moon pub for a final word with Janet Webber, coordinating the Storrington Horticultural Society’s 150th celebrations, and Tom Brown, Parham House’s Head Gardener, who was a key part of the judging arrangements.
After a final photocall, all those participating enjoyed a sandwich and refreshment in the garden of the Moon, and were able to exchange their many stories of the months before, and of course the day itself.
It just remains to thank all those many volunteers who have contributed to the work achieved, and hope they will be “on board” for another year of horticultural challenge in 2015!
Report and pictures contributed by Jo Newington.