Saying goodbye to the allotment
Any one who has read this blog over the last couple of years will know I acquired an allotment in 2010. A virgin site, basically part of a field which had previously been used for livestock. As you can see from the above photograph the location of the site is lovely, surrounded by fields and there are lots of birds, even quail. I used to enjoy the peace early on a Sunday morning with just the horses in the neighbouring field for company.
However, as I said in a post back in August I have come to realise that deep down, despite trying very hard to be, I’m not a vegetable grower. I can’t get excited about unusual vegetables, trying new vegetables and looking for ways to deal with the gluts. It’s just not what floats my boat as they say. I found myself resenting more and more the time the allotment was taking me away from my garden which in my mind is looking very neglected, although people are kind to say otherwise. There are projects I want to undertake both in the garden and also in the house and these just haven’t been possible over the last two years due to the time needed to tend the allotment, especially given my limited free time due to a demanding job.
Since I made the decision in August to give up the allotment I have felt a huge weight come off me. The daily worrying about when I can get to the plot, managing the crops, pests etc hasn’t been missed at all. My head actually feels clearer and I have started to re-engage with the garden, taken up some new creative hobbies and am planning some much-needed interior redecoration. I genuinely believe that the majority of gardeners are either ornamental or vegetable gardeners. I have met many head gardeners who have pulled a face when you ask them about vegetables just as there are many veg/edible growers who although they grow flowers on their plots aren’t as obsessive as I, and many of my gardener friends, are about ornamentals. Each to his own I say and there is room for us all but I know now where my true passion lies.
I haven’t handed in my notice at the plot yet as I have been waiting to move some of the fruit bushes to my garden. I have also been unwell with a bad back and if I am really honest I haven’t wanted to go to the plot at all. I’m not sure why. There is part of me that has felt guilty at having got my family to help me and then giving up; there is part of me that has felt a bit of a failure at not sticking to it; and there is part of me that has so disengaged with the plot that I have more or less forgotten about it.
Anyway, my Mum has used my lack of interest as an excuse to do some additional weeding when her own half plot is completely weeded. She is one of those people who enjoys weeding and she loves being at the site, its her escape from difficult times and this alone is enough for me to know that I shouldn’t feel guilty or a failure as Mum discovering the allotment was worth it all. She is keeping her half plot for the time being and has made lots of friends at the site, one of them leaves her love letters although my Dad knows about this so I don’t think I need to worry at all!
This weekend I decided that it was now or never and as my eldest son was free to dismantle the raised bed and fruit bush supports it was an opportunity not to miss. Mum and Dad came down to see which raspberry plants Mum could have and ended up moving them there and then. The four of us (my three helpers above) had a great hour or so. I dug up the Japanese wineberry, a gooseberry, a blackberry and a rhubarb; collected up the assorted tools and bits and pieces I wanted to keep. It took four barrow loads to get everything up to the car and despite my conviction it wouldn’t all fit in the back of my car, my son proved me wrong – again.
I shan’t miss the muddy car interior that’s for sure.
All that’s left to do now is to meet with my other son’s girlfriend’s parents who are going to take the rest of the fruit bushes and anything else they want and then I will lift the pathing material which I can reuse in the garden and hand in my notice.
Its been good – a fantastic learning curve, an escape in difficult times, a bonding exercise with my parents, a great journey if I must use that overused cliché. However, now I will move on and put all my efforts into my first love the garden remembering of course that Mum will always be quite happy for a bit of help and a home for her surplus veg should I need them.