Hoping to raise the community garden profile and reach out to a wider audience, the committee of the Rye Community Food and Wildlife Garden group organised a stand at the Rye Allotments Association’s (RAA) annual flower and vegetable show on August 30. Decorated by produce from one committee member’s allotment and with free plums on offer from another, the stand proved popular. We gained 14 more volunteers and even captured the attention of local MP Amber Rudd, who chatted at the stand about dried artichoke heads, one of which was part of the food display, and the exciting plans for the community garden development.
We also raised nearly £50 towards the purchase of 10 Sussex Heritage varieties of apple tree, the beginnings of a community orchard. The apple tree fund was also the recipient of £100 from the RAA itself – for which the garden committee is immensely grateful.
The trees will be planted out on Rye Apple Day (Saturday October 18) with the mayor, Councillor Bernadine Fiddimore, doing the ceremonial duties. Collectively, these varieties will crop between August and February and produce both cookers and dessert apples; some will do both. The total cost of the trees is £225, so we are just £75 short . . . donations gratefully received!
The best news is that last Saturday (September 20) saw the first working day in the garden, when some of the committee members were joined by volunteers to make a start on preparing the ground for the planting of the trees. The garden is now open for anyone to come and lend a hand on Saturday mornings, 9am-12pm, and Tuesday afternoons, 1pm-4pm.
You will find us at the far end of Love Lane, between Love Lane and the allotments. Access is via the pedestrian/vehicular gate. There’s plenty to do, from the chore of picking up litter from the boundaries to the hard graft of clearing the ground for both the raised beds where we will be growing vegetables – carpet was laid down a few weeks ago to kill off the underlying grass which, in theory, makes the digging slightly easier! – and for the apple trees.
Bring yourselves along in stout shoes – the ground is still rather uneven – and the tools and protective gloves will be waiting for you. It’s all good fun and for a worthy cause – and you’ll feel so good afterwards!
The selected varieties of Sussex Heritage apple tree are:
- Aldwick Beauty, dessert
- Bossom, dessert / cooker
- Capper’s Pearmain, cooker
- Crawley Beauty, dessert / cooker
- Duck’s Bill, dessert / cooker
- Egremont Russet, dessert
- Forge, dessert / cooker
- Knobby Russet, dessert
- Lady Sudeley, dessert
- Tinsley Quince, dessert
Photos: Katharine Manning