29 MARCH 2018
All of the "Blue Boy" Cornflowers seedlings have now been potted on and will be transplanted to the Lottie when they are stronger and the weather warmer. We will also be sowing some Cornflower seed direct onto the plot for a later crop. The Sweet Peas seedlings are looking very and healthy and will go out shortly. We hope for a beautiful crop. The Foxglove plants on both my Lottie and the Church Lottie have increased in size and we are hopeful of a dramatic display this year, both on the plot and in Church - probably in May. Julie and the Team
24 MARCH 2018
We were delighted to receive 2nd prize for a vase of 5 Narcissi from the Church Allotment at Rustington Flower Show in March. A wonderful afternoon with some gorgeous blooms on show. Please do attend these lovely village events at the Woodlands centre - 2 until 4pm. The next two shows this year are the Rose and Sweet Pea Show on 23 June, and the Summer Show on 18 August where there will be a profusion of Dahlias. Both shows will feature other flowers, fruit and vegetables and produce from the Church Allotment, plus delicious afternoon tea and cake. If you would like to enter an exhibit please telephone the Show Secretary on 01903 856007.
Julie and the Team
5 JANUARY 2018 - "SHOOTS ARE APPEARING"
It might not look much from the photograph taken on 5 January, but there is much new life on the plot. The new Alliums are all showing through the very wet soil and the Rhubarb crowns are pushing their way through like cream hens eggs.
The Foxgloves planted last spring have formed beautiful clumps and I am really excited about seeing the lovely flower spikes when they appear.
As you can see, the Globe Artichoke has gone from strength to strength and looked lovely today in the dappled sunshine. We hope for many globes this year. My all time favourite Sarah Raven Catalogue has just arrived and we will again be ordering our annuals from Sarah. She has the most beautiful Dahlia, new to the Catalogue, and I hope to find room for a few tubers - "Penhill Dark Monarch." In shades of coffee, apricot and raspberry.
We are delighted to welcome Grace and Charlie to the Lottie team and hope that they will love being on the plot as much as myself, Jessica, Sue, Janis and Jennie - and of course Trevor, our plot
neighbour, who helps us out with such generosity.
Wishing all our supporters a Blessed New Year. Julie and the Team.
Well - someone has to be first! We have a lovely bed of spring flowering Narcissi on the Church Allotment, normally blooming between March and April. This little lady, however, has popped up on her own this week. She has the most heavenly fragrance and it was lovely to spot her yesterday as the sky darkened at 3.15pm. We will leave her as a nectar treat for the bees. We have beautiful butterflies, and the Greenfinches are feasting on the sunflower seed heads that we have left for them. The frogs are also back and the Robin has been singing his heart out over the past two days on top of the Sunflowers. The Allotment is looking very autumnal and architectural - it is beautiful. Julie
19 August 2017
The lovely "Cafe au Lait" Dahlia from the Church Allotment - a 3rd prize winner in today's Horticultural Show at Rustington. Thank you to everyone who came along to support us...... and many congratulations to Jennie Nixon who won 1st prize for her Victoria Sandwich cake - the first time she had entered the show. Julie C.
The Lottie is a mass of flowers and looks truly beautiful. Many were cut to use for our wonderful Festival of Flowers and for a Wedding.
As always we entered the Rustington Rose and Sweet Pea Show this month and were delighted that our David Austin Rose, "The Pilgrim," won first prize in the yellow Rose section, and then went on to
win the "Tom Lloyd Memorial Plate" for Best Yellow Rose in Show.
Our Rhubarb won 1st Prize, our Strawberries 2nd Prize, and our vase of mixed flowers 3rd prize. The very hot weather has not been liked by the Strawberries and they seem to have stopped producing fruit, but we have plenty of Sweet Peas and lovely mixed flowers to use in Church and to sell as usual by donation. The lovely photo of "The Pilgrim" Rose is courtesy of Liz Henderson. Thank you Liz.
Julie and Team
3O JANUARY 2017
Our first Snowdrop has bloomed on the Church Allotment in the border by the shed. So lovely, but I must remember to take a camera next time! As it will be sometime before we have any vegetables or
flowers, the Team hopes to treat you all to cake with a difference with your Coffee after a 9.45pm service - the details and date will be published in the News Sheet. Try something a little out of
the ordinary - Carrot Cake, Beetroot and Chocolate Cake, Chocolate and Courgette Cake,Parsnip Cake or perhaps Apple cake! Join us and be adventurous. As always we will have our little donation box -
your support is so appreciated.
Our Team is growing and we are now 9 strong which is fantastic. Photos next time.
Julie and Team
LOOKING FORWARD TO SPRING ON THE PLOT - 11 January 2017
Nearly two months ago in November the team put the plot to bed for the Winter, and an inspection today delighted with signs of new growth. One yellow Crocus in bloom stood out against the otherwise brown of the earth and dried stems. Daffodils are in bud and our Strawberry and Rhubarb plants are pushing up new bundles of pale green leaves. The daffodil bed is awash with dozens of strong self seeded Poppy plants, and we will leave them to grow and bloom and will add wild flower seeds in the spring. This will give us a beautiful display by the perimeter fence. We are all so looking forward to an amazing Cutting Garden this year. Julie Churcher and Team
PUTTING THE PLOT TO BED FOR THE WINTER
Julie, Russell, Jessica and Jeannie, met on the plot on 14 November for an Autumnal sort out, and of course, coffee and cake! The Strawberry bed has been cleared of all dead leaves and there is now plenty of room for the plants to grown easily in readiness for that luscious fruit in June. Perennials have been cut down ready for new growth in the late spring and our glorious faded Sunflowers have been removed - they were so huge this task took two of us - as did the work on the Strawberry bed. Many thanks to those of you who took seed heads for the wild birds and pet Parrots. They went as far as Rustington, East Preston, Storrington and the National Trust in Surrey. We will be planting new Daffodil bulbs and many more beautiful flowers in the spring for sale after services and to decorate our lovely Church. I understand that the cost of commercial flowers will increase substantially next year so please pray for an abundant "crop on the plot." Julie, 14th November
Sunflower seeds from the allotment - the birds just love them! Julie Churcher
The Harvest Festival dispay of flowers grown on the church allotment including the lovely alium seed heads. Julie Churcher
More stunning sunflowers!
Lovely colour on the Church Allotment last Saturday morning, and waiting to be cut for Church. Can you spot the Honey Bee hard at work ? Don't worry - we won't cut his Sunflower !
August 2016 - Dahlias from the Church allotment - 2nd prize awarded in two classes at Rustington Flower Show this month. We are delighted.
July 2016 - Flowers in Church from the Church Allotment for the marriage of Mark and Hayley and for the first services in our beautiful Church following the Church reordering. Thanks be to God.
Our lovely plot and cutting garden is in excellent condition, and the Strawberries are covered in hundreds of flowers that hopefully will provide us with a huge crop of fruit. Ann and Mervyn have given the shed a second coat of preservative paint, and Jessica, Russell, and Jeannie have dug and weeded so that we are now virtually weed free. The Cornflower seedlings are popping up through the heavy clay soil, and the sweet peas are planted. All of the perennials are now doing well. We have lots more seed and summer bulbs to be planted and these will go in over the next two weeks, and our first crop of Rhubarb is now ready for harvesting. Delicious!
Julie Churcher, 14th May
"SPRING IS IN THE AIR"
Welcome back - I am sorry there is no photo, but this is what is happening on the plot. Unfortunately Storm Katie damaged our last crop of beautiful Narcissi. We have a lovely bed of yellow Wallflowers and we will leave these for the early bees to enjoy. The Allium bulbs are up and the Lupins planted, and the Perennials we grew last year are showing signs of new life. We will shortly be planting the Sweet Peas out and hopefully an early sowing of Cornflowers. The plot is in very good condition thanks to the wonderful time put in by the Team. We look forward to a summer of stunning blooms and colour, to include Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Daisies, Lupins, a bed of English Wild Flowers, and much more. Our "Pilgrim" rose is doing well. It will be so lovely to see the flowers in our beautiful Church when we re-open in the Summer. Julie Churcher 14th April
Sunday 18 October
I just love the architectural "disorder" of these Dahlias blooming on my Allotment. The way in which nature produces such beautiful varieties is wondrous. The Dahlias are being picked every week from the Church Allotment for the Upper Room, for sale after Church, for the tables at the Friendship Lunch (see our Facebook page), or for individual orders and Pacettis Cafe. As fast as the blooms are gathered more buds appear. The first frosts will, unfortunately, devastate the plants, and we will then clear them away and lay a protective barrier of straw over the tubers to protect them until the Spring. It can be a little chilly on the plot at the moment, but with the sun shining through, and the Robin keeping us company, it is a joyous place to be. Julie Churcher
The sun has been wonderful for ripening off our 15 Butternut Squash - a wonderful crop for only two or three plants. This week over 100 mixed variety Daffodils have been planted in front of the patio together with snowdrops and a bed of Wallflowers and purple Alliums. We have planted a David Austen Rose, a beautiful old fashioned yellow rose with an amazing scent and named "The Pilgrim." The onions have been harvested for sale, along with the French beans, yellow Courgettes and Dahlias, and of course some of the Butternut Squash. The Cornflowers seem to be producing fresh blossoms, and we will leave them awhile so that the Bees and other beneficial insects can benefit. The plot remains very productive, and is very beautiful at the moment with a glorious show of multi-coloured Dahlias. Julie Churcher 2nd October, 2015
It was a beautiful day at the Weald and Downland museum today and this is one of the three Shire horses waiting patiently while the cart was loaded with the harvest. I have a wonderful old Allotment book that directs that when making your paths between the plots they must be wide enough to allow your horse to walk along them!
The Miller at the museum has given me a bag of corn to grow on the plot and I will have some more from the seed merchant at Chichester. We hope to grow a block of corn and will post pictures from time to time - hopefully from sowing to harvest. We now look forward to the lovely mellow days of Autumn.
Thank you so much to Jennie N who
helped to pick and bunch the flowers on Saturday evening. It takes a long while to pick, sort and bunch and help is much appreciated. Early evening is also a beautiful time to be on the plot. The
heat of the day has softened and for most of the time we worked together in happy silence, just content to enjoy company and the peace of the day.
All of our produce sold out on Sunday morning - Gladioli, Dahlias, Cornflowers, Sweet Peas, Seeding Dill (wonderful with the Dahlias), Mint, Pinks, and Courgettes. We will have produce when possible but not every Sunday, and I hope to be at Wednesday Coffee Break sometimes, but if you would like flowers, herbs or vegetables (according to availability) at other times please let me or a member of the team know. Local delivery is possible. It was very special to be able to provide some of the flowers for Jacob and Chrystal's Wedding, and also for the table arrangements for the Friendship Lunch and for sale for Church funds at the Summer Fair.
The plot is a delight! Thank you all for your support.
The Allotment Team
FRIDAY 10 JULY
Our Sweet Peas, Cornflowers, Mint and Strawberries are absolutely gorgeous. We also have the most amazing poppies. They are far too delicate to pick but the colours are incredible, ranging from baby pink to post box red and some stunning deep Crimson blooms. I picked the fruit and flowers in the photo early on Wednesday morning and sold out completely at Coffee Break. Hardly a footprint let alone an air mile! Our picnic table is being delivered by Keith H on Monday morning - thank you so much Keith for volunteering - or were you volunteered? We are very grateful to everyone who has donated tables, chairs and sun brollies - and also a very warm welcome to our new volunteers.
Julie and the Lottie Team
FRIDAY 3 JULY - We are in
We now have a beautiful flower cutting garden! The Sweet Peas are now in full bloom, and the multi-coloured Cornflowers are a lovely sight. We have picked and sold quite a few punnets of our new Strawberries. I had a look today and the cucumbers and courgettes are on their way, although in this hot weather they need copious amounts of water. Many thanks to Trevor, our plot neighbour, who keeps an eye on them and rescues them from shrivelling up when necessary!!
The small vases of flowers in the Church Porch are all from the Allotment, and this weekend include Cornflowers, Sweet Peas, Feverfew daisies, herbs and seed heads. If anyone would like a mixed posie for a friend or for themselves just let me know - they look lovely in jam jars (a small donation to the allotment fund would be welcome). I will sell after Church as often as possible.
As ever it is a haven for the bees and butterflies. Thank you to everyone for your support again this year. If you would like to visit just let me, Lea, Jessica or Russell know. We would love to see you there and no doubt there will be something to take home with you.
Julie and the Lottie Team
It is all systems go now, and the plot is in good order and thriving. The Sweet Peas are coming on and the Dahlias that survived the winter are coming through. We have grown plenty of Cornflowers and hope to be able to sell bunches throughout the Summer. We hope to exhibit our lettuce at the Rustington Show on 27 June at The Woodlands Centre - 2 until 4pm.
On Saturday I attended a wonderful gardening day at West Dean College run by Mark Diacono of Otter Farm in Devon. We learned of all the unusual but delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs we could grow that are not generally available in the shops. One of them is Oca, a lemon tasting tuber that does not suffer from blight. You treat it like a potato. I was lucky enough to be able to buy a plant next door at the Weald and Downland Museum and this is it. It is a member of the oxalis family, hence the foliage resembling clover. I have planted it on my plot with strict instructions to Graham not to regard it as a weed! I will harvest the tubers in the winter and "test" one or two and save the rest to plant out on the Church plot in the spring.
You will probably find some unusual produce for sale next year!
"AN ANGEL SMILES EACH TIME A FLOWER BLOOMS"
Many thanks to Brigitte for the gift of our Allotment Angel. As soon as our shed is up she will have pride of place on the door looking out over our plot.
The soil for the new strawberry plot has been enriched with solid conditioner and the new strawberry plants are enjoying being in their new position - they were beginning to flower in their pots! We look forward to a good crop.
Two stray spears of asparagus have popped up on the plot - I will leave them to grow their feathery fronds and use them in our flower bunches. The sweet pea and cosmos seeds have come up although no sign of the runner beans yet. Hopefully the herbs and poppies will be planted this week, together with the summer pinks and the rhubarb. The rain forecast toward the end of this week will be very welcome as the plot - being on clay - is rather dry at the moment. Things are coming on.
Julie Churcher 20th April
Our daffodils have joyously bloomed for Easter, and will be used to decorate the North Porch of the Church. We thank Graham so much for digging over the whole plot this month and in turn Graham thanks Lea and Jessica for making that task so much easier by doing the initial groundwork in removing the old Raspberries. The plot will now need to be hoed and raked to make the soil ready for seed and plant sowing, but hopefully we are now on the way to creating our lovely flower cutting garden and vegetable patch. Thank you to Brian Hayes for giving us the onion sets. They are much appreciated. Look out for the May issue of Seasight where we will have photos of the cup and Certificate winners from our Church family who won awards at Rustington Flower Show this month. Many congratulations to Jessica and Eleanor, and to Rev Audrey Ross - and to myself I suppose!
The team wishes you all a blessed and peaceful Eastertide. Julie
The two strawberry beds gave us a
superb crop last year, but the plants are very old and ideally should be replaced every three years. They have not come through the winter well and the decision has been made to replace them.
Twenty-four new established plants of "Cambridge Favourite" have been purchased, all beautifully healthy and with good disease resistance. The donations paid to us by Pacetti's Cafe and Deli
for their table flower posies has in turn paid for the new Strawberry plants. The new bed will be prepared this week, and planting will hopefully take place in the next few days. They should crop
this year from June. Maisie and Eleanor of the Flowerpot Crew will take care of the Strawberry plot, and I think we can excuse them a taster or two - or three......
Julie and Team
A combination of a clash of Church activities, family commitments, working and chest infections (me embarrassingly), meant that only Lea, Maisie and Jessica were able to attend to the first plot clearance of the Spring today. A tremendous amount of work was achieved and the old, not very productive, raspberry canes have now been removed and about a dozen sacks of plant material taken to the dump. Thank you so much. Needless to say Lea, Maisie and Jessica are now relieved of Allotment duties for a while. The rest of the team - I hope - will now level the southern end of the plot ready for Steve, Graham and others to put the shed and patio in place and then it will be all systems go for the spring planting. I think the girls deserve a bottle of Radox each! Maisie has taken the photos below showing the plot today in lovely sunshine, and the area now ready for the shed..... and the Daffs are still slowly emerging I am assured!
I made a visit to the Lottie today with scissors in hand in the hope that at least the more established daffodils and narcissi on my own plot would have bloomed. One brave bud basked in the sunshine but that was all, and as for the fifty or so bulbs planted on the Church Allotment in the Autumn, there was not a bud in sight although they all appear to have shown willing and are pushing young leaves up through the very wet soil..... And so we wait! The first bloom will immediately appear on this page - quite when that will be remains to be seen.
The Snowdrops in the Churchyard are,
however, glorious and we have many different varieties, some scattered in very small groups, and others in wonderful white and green clumps. So special at this time of
Our very tame Robin in the Churchyard entertained myself and a small group to a wonderful vocal concert in the week from his perch in the Yew tree. Amazingly we all stood only half a path's width from him and at eye level, but he showed no signs of nervousness and showed off for quite a few minutes. Again, I regret not having a camera with me but sometimes the memory of something so lovely is extra special.
FEBRUARY - HERB POSIES FOR PACETTI'S ITALIAN DELI AND CAFE
We are very excited to be supplying the Cafe with table posies from the Church Allotment - all proceeds will go toward the Allotment fund. With many thanks to the Allotment Department of Rustington Parish Council for supporting this project and for giving us the necessary permissions, and, of course, many thanks to Stephen and Samantha Pacetti for showcasing our herbs and flowers. Julie Churcher
TUESDAY 20 JANUARY
This morning was perfect for a couple of hours work on the plot. Lovely and sunny and surprisingly mild. I did take my coat off at one point, but it was back on within thirty minutes! A little bit of a chill in the air! The Dahlia tubers have been covered with straw to protect them from frost. I expect we will lose a few but these will be replaced with new varieties. Plants past their best have been removed and those we cannot compost have been taken to the tip.
"Rose and Spud" have coped remarkably well and are still in situ. Our pet Robin spent the morning with me - he likes to sit on Rose's head and watch me whilst I work. I will try and catch a photo of him, but he does tend to flit about! Our spring Broccoli is doing well, and the leaves looked lovely covered in the early morning frost. On my own plot I discovered my first clump of yellow crocus in bloom - what a lovely surprise first thing this morning - spring is in the air! Julie Churcher
What a difference between Summer and Winter!
Thank you so much to Trish Holden and her husband for providing us with a wheelbarrow. We have
long needed one on the plot and this will now make things so much easier.
Come on "Flowerpot Crew," our new acquisition now needs a name!
The seed catalogues have arrived and the excitement mounts at the start of our new season. We do hope that we will have new volunteers following on from our special event on 10 January - "Ready, Willing and Able." You will be most welcome. Remember, when the shed and patio are completed there will be lunches, teas, picnics - the possibilities will be endless - and a lot of fun.
Julie Churcher & Team
As we look forward to a new horticultural year on the plot and the formation of our Flower Cutting Garden, the team wish you all a Happy New Year and a 'thank you' for all your interest and wonderful support. Julie Churcher & Team
The wonderful colours of Autumn have now appeared. The
pumpkins have ripened and have been harvested by "The Flowerpot Crew," We still have beautiful Dahlias in bloom, but the first frost will sadly see an end to them. There will be another flower and
vegetable sale - the spinach is still producing, and there will be green leafy tops from the sprouts and other cabbage type plants. The little sprouts are forming but are rather tiny at the moment!
We will have to wait and see if they gain momentum! Hopefully the leeks are now ready. The plot is wet and muddy and we do hope for some fine weather to dry things out. We had planned to plant bulbs
on Remembrance Sunday - this was a lovely time to plant them, and in the spring we will be able to offer bunches of daffodils and other spring flowers for sale after
Volunteers are always welcome. Just have a word with me, Lea or Jessica. Thank you to everyone for your support during the year. Watch out next Summer for our "Flower Cutting Garden." It should be amazingly beautiful.
Julie Churcher and
"OUR WONDERFUL TEAM"
Meet Jayne who picked the wonderful bucket of flowers sold at Church last Sunday, and "The Flowerpot Crew" standing beside their enormous pumpkin plants - with lovely pumpkins forming but hidden by the leaves! Maisie's pumpkins are getting bigger every week! We just had to have a photo of Dorothy and Marsha next to Spud. Thank you so much Dorothy for making Spud and Rose with Junior Church. Everyone loves them. We are now making chutney with the Allotment tomatoes and this will be on sale in the next few weeks. It is so yummy! Watch for announcements in the Notice Sheet. As we go into Autumn produce and flowers are still plentiful on the plot.
Maisie's photographs are "amazing." I will be taking weekly photographs of Maisie's Pumpkin and hope to do a series of prints in the Autumn to show how quickly it grew - the plant has now taken up most of the Junior Church plot! The Pumpkins grown by Junior Church in the patch next to the Raspberries have now produced fruit, and the plants are rambling everywhere! Photographs next update.
We have an incredible selection of produce and flowers, and the produce has sold out at both Coffee Break and on a Sunday. Many thanks to Gillian, John and Iris for donating their lovely apples, vegetables and parsley to supplement our plot produce.
We will have an "Allotment Recipe" in the September issue of Seasight, and we very much hope that you are all enjoying our lovely fresh produce. The Runner Beans and Cabbage are delicious! The Sweetcorn is now ready, and we are planting more lettuce and cabbage. It has been an amazingly bountiful Summer.
"THE FLOWERPOT CREW"
Welcome this week to the Junior Church plot. Our wonderful Junior Church have decided to call themselves "The Flowerpot Crew," and this week they would like to introduce you to their new "volunteers," Rose (on the left in pink), and Spud (on the right in blue). With many thanks to Trevor on plot 11 who helped secure our friends on the plot and to his wife Dana, and to Trevor,who help with our watering. We would also like to thank Barry on the next plot who gave us our lovely leek plants. We are so grateful to everyone at Junior Church who helped build our Scarecrows and bring them to life! They do make you jump sometimes as Lea will tell you!!
We have had the first dwarf beans from the "Flowerpot Crew" plot, and 2 cucumbers from the plant donated by Tony and Yvonne. The cucumber is rambling over the whole plot now! The first orange tomatoes were delicious and we have picked the first Sweetpeas. Maisie's Pumpkin is doing really well and The Crew have brought back more of their Pumpkin and Courgette plants that they grew at home. These have their own plot by the Raspberries so that they can ramble about merrily, and hopefully we will have a bumper crop in the next few weeks. The lettuce have been really popular with our Church Family, and the Yellow Evening Primrose and Poppies have been stunning. We are hopeful that the potatoes are doing well. We will post some pictures when "The Flowerpot Crew," lift them.
There will be more updates from "The Crew," who thank you all for your support and encouragement.
"...........and the Strawberries just keep on coming!"
What a bumper crop of strawberries from the Church plot. We do hope that you have enjoyed them. The lettuce are in abundance, and we have our first cucumber - thank you Yvonne and Tony for the plant which is now trailing from the edge of the plot toward the middle. The cabbages are doing very well and the sweetcorn are strong and thriving. We were able to provide the first raspberries last Sunday, and the courgettes are maturing although the first fruit is now a Marrow - oops !!!
Maisie has planted her pumpkin on the Junior Church plot and we have a marrow plant to come. There will be photos of the Junior Church plot next update. Everything is growing so fast and the plot looks very lush at the moment. The flowers are lovely and the Evening Primrose is in bloom for the first time. We hope for a bountiful summer.
Rustington Parish Council has now allocated our Church an allotment. The church flower team will oversee the project but we do need a working team and, particularly in the next week or two, volunteers to tidy and prepare the ground for planting. There will be some digging required although the Council will clear and dig the plot first. If you can help in any way at all please contact me. This is an exciting project that will benefit our Church family including our Youth Group and Junior Church who will be given their own plot. Further information will follow at the end of this month. Thank you so much. Julie Churcher.
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