So it all started around this time last year, when a letter dropped through my letter box from the Council letting me know a plot had become available for me at my local allotment site!
After a 2 year wait, I was so excited, I jumped into my wellies, got into my car and hurtled down to the site in the pouring rain to look at the plot … well what a site it was .. !
It was obvious the previous owner just didn't have the time to maintain it and it was fully overgrown with weeds up to my waist, grassy patches and bits of rubbish.
“This is going to be a big job” I thought … and I don't have a clue what on earth I'm doing, so later that night, whilst laying in bed, I reached for my trusty book ‘The Cut Flower Patch’ by Louise Curly.
First things first, clear the patch and dig it over. Thought that would be an easy task, but it was the hardest work out I have done in a long time!
I felt much better after clearing, turning it over and mulching. Time for planning.. small problem though - no green house!
That’s where my amazingly talented friend Lou came in (aka The Little Red Robin) Lou dedicates her life to her garden and allotment (as well as buying vintage antiques and her super cute puppy Claude) and grows the most incredible variety of cutting flowers - my idea of heaven!
At the annual May allotment holders BBQ (one for the diary, although not sure I will be allowed back after my drunken antics last year!) Lou delivered down a whole cars worth of seedlings for me to pop into the allotment - I felt so lucky and couldn't wait for them to mature.
This is when the hard work began … my time was spent carefully nurturing all the seedlings and making sure that every day they were well watered to give them the best start I could.
It was difficult to fit this in, I used to get up at 5am to water them in the morning (before a wedding) and I was back again in the evening (after a wedding) to dose them with more water.
The little seedlings became my life .. and I was very protective over them. SLUGS … well what can I say, I used to wake up with a hot sweat thinking that they had all be eaten over night.
When the seedlings turned into plants, I wasn't so paranoid over them. The paranoia turned into the weeds taking over the plants! It was difficult to keep the weeds at bay, especially as we have a terrible prehistoric weed on the allotment called Mare’s Tail and its the hardest weed to get control of, especially as the previous owner had done nothing about it!
As the plants matured, they started producing flowers and lots of them. It became a really enjoyable part of my summer, popping down to the allotment to whip up a bouquet to bring back to the house. Not to mention all the food I grew too. My best crop was by far, my multi coloured fiery hot radish! It was also rather lovely to add the odd flower head into a brides bouquet, creating a personal touch.
Since the autumn I have really missed this very small, but very enjoyable patch of land and cannot wait to start it all over again this year!
Photos by Hannah Berry