Monday, 13 October 2014

Brightening Up

I remember when Mr K and I got our first flat. It was on the ground floor which afforded us the most fantastic gift - a back yard. Now when I say 'yard' I don't mean the glorious American translation of a large well tended garden. Nope. This was a few paving slabs and very little natural light. So what did I do? I took up a row of slabs and planted some bulbs. We stayed in that flat for a couple of years and the sight of those red and yellow tulips each Spring lifted my heart.


Nothing as prolific as this - sadly way before the age of digital photography
Our next flat had a slightly bigger yard - a nice 'square'one. For what seemed like forever we would visit the neighbouring waste ground and return with old bricks and buckets of soil to make raised beds. This time I had more space, more chance to experiment, and so began my love for anything 'herb'.

A nearby allotment came up and together we made it our own, complete with a little rose garden. I remember our most prolific crop was 'mouli' - a white Japanese radish that we neither knew what to do with or could give away. Another move said goodbye to that one and by now we were cultivating a different type of crop - our gorgeous girls!

We tried and failed to keep another allotment going, sharing with other families to try and make it more manageable - but the girls being so young and the busy nature of family life prevented us from any long term commitment.

 Our small back garden became packed to the rafters with all kinds of everything. I've absolutely loved every minute of the last eighteen years seeing it develop into my own little oasis. But both of us knew it wasn't quite enough. We had been bitten by the growing bug many years before and never quite shaken it off. So when a nice lady from the council rang a couple of weeks ago to ask if we were still interested in taking on an allotment I almost cried!

We had almost forgotten that seven years before we had put our names on the council waiting list. There had been an opportunity to join a site on the other side of town some time ago, but we knew that if we had to make a special journey by car to get there that the novelty would soon wear off. 

We hung on. 

And it paid off. 

The allotment is about five minutes walk away, maybe ten if we take the 'scenic' route along the canal. Unlike our previous plots the soil is a dream to behold - it's been cared for over the last eighteen years and is packed with worms (at this point I realise I might be starting to sound a little delirious). All the ideas that I have nurtured are now becoming possibilities and I'm doing no end of little scribbles and list making.

Not that it's going to be easy.

My idea of a dream shed is this sort of thing.

A quiet spot surrounded by herbs with the scent of sweet peas wafting toward me as I recline on my Cath Kidston cushions to survey the land.

What I've got so far is this.

Perhaps a greenhouse dripping with vines and bursting with the possibility of exotic fruits.

Once we've got it on it's base and it actually has some glass in it.

I imagine serenely wandering through the bug free, organic produce - Alys Fowler style.

You can see we have a way to go.

But it's here.

And it's ours.

For now.

And this time instead of taking slabs up I'm putting them down.

Oh for the joy of a path ...

So that's what's been keeping me preoccupied of late. At a time when there has been a fair amount of uncertainty and upheaval it's been good to feel that some things haven't changed. And the future is looking a little brighter.

Much love to all of you out there - and a huge welcome to my new followers.


And hello from Oscar - our allotment neighbour.


  1. A way to go indeed ... but you can do it and it sounds as though you will enjoy every minute of it! Here's to a pretty shed and CK recliner sometime in the not-too-distant future! M x

  2. How exciting...I loved sharing my brother's allotment but alas work pressures forced me to give it up. Your soil looks wonderful and not a trace of bindweed in sight, lots of work for sure but it could have been much much worse.

  3. It looks wonderful and I know you can do it. I really enjoyed your trip down memory lane, thanks for sharing.

  4. How fabulous, Jane. And what a lovely neighbour. At least he won't talk your ears off all day, eh? :oD

  5. Jane, be as delirious as you wish! This is grand news. What a wonderful year you will have, as you begin the planning now in autumn. Do you know the book Four Hedges?

    Every year that I continue to live in my city apartment, in a fine location, but without any garden or even growing-favorable light on my windowsills, I yearn for a garden. And love every encouragement that I receive from elsewhere that perhaps next year will be the year that I might have a garden.

    Your vintage photographs are wonderful, and really attest to why you are agog over this allotment. And the new neighbor, too.


  6. You will do it, I know ... next Summer we will be looking enviously at photographs of a well tended lotty, bursting with abundance! We used to have an allotment, but like you, it was when the children (4 of them) were small, it was a 20 minute walk away (down a steep bumpy hill, not very buggy friendly!) or 30 minutes the long way and neither of us drove so if we forgot something ... it all becanme too much of a chore so we just have a veggy patch in our garden now ... enough for us though. Can't wait to see what you do with it and I'm sure there will be a glimpse of Cath Kidston in there too ... xxx

  7. That's wonderful, serendipitous ,so much pleasure to come!

  8. Hi Jane,
    Congratulations on your allotment, it will be so much fun and very pretty too when you start to put your stamp on the space-bunting?
    A lovely blog and a pleasure to join you.

  9. What a great plot Jane, it will be bursting with delicious things and pretty as a picture before you know it. Happy allotmenteering!
    Jane xx

  10. How fantastic Jane, I can hear the joy in your words!! I hope that you love it so very much, I am sure that you will. It sounds as though you have inherited a great plot, so much better than having to do a lot of weed clearing and so on that some poor people are faced with. Lots of exciting times ahead for you. xx

  11. That really is fantastic! We are so fortunate to have a big garden and can do all our growing at home. Having an allotment is great - hard work but well worth the effort.

  12. Such exciting news!!!! You are going to love it especially if Oscar is your neighbor.

  13. Ah, fabulous! What fun you're going to have planning it just how you want it. xx

  14. Lucky people! We lost our promised allotment before it materialised - long story - I still miss the patch we never actually had. Happy digging x

  15. Exciting times. You've waited a long time for this moment so it won't matter one jot if you have to wait a little longer to get it exactly how you want it, you'll get there in the end. It's a great time to take on a new plot, you've got a bit of time left this year to start doing a few jobs and all the winter months to plan what you're going to do next year. Good luck with it, I shall be reading along to follow your progress.

  16. Congratulations!! I'm sure that next summer you will be reclining on your Cath Kidston cushions surveying your bounty!! I will look forward to seeing your progress,did you see the Great Allotment Challenge on T.V recently? Kind Regards Pam.

  17. I really miss my allotment but I know that I just don't have the time anymore togged another one - I'll just get my allotment fix from you instead!


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