The thing about gardeners is, no matter where we live in the world we are all striving for results, often learning as we grow, and making use of our local surroundings.
While we were in the UK we were lucky enough to go to the Chelsea Flower Show, wow what an experience, we loved it all and spent an entire day going around all the amazing garden displays, sculptures, demonstrations and Oh the plants for sale!!!
I'm sure Ross was grateful that I couldn't buy plants on this occasion.
But you know what? Beautiful and all that the show was it was a far cry from my garden or anyone else's garden that I know.
The absolute best UK Garden experience for me was the Allotment Gardens, now these are something else.
Here's where it gets interesting. If you want an allotment you can expect to wait 5 to 8 years for a patch to come available, you are then allocated a patch about the size of a tennis court and its yours to do what you like with, remembering you have just that one patch for years on end. How much work you would have to put into it to maintain the soil, and not forgetting bringing in potting mix, compost, plants and garden tools to say the least. Add to this the likelyhood of living some distance from your allotment, transport to and from etc etc. I'm in ore of these dedicated gardeners.
That said they are a very private bunch of people. Ross and I happened upon a beautiful allotment that had a 6 foot fence surrounding the entire thing, and coded gates to enter by. I stood on the outside of this allotment for ages in the hope I would be able to wheedle my way in through by talking to a nearby gardener, the sheer pleasure of just looking and poking about was my motivation, sadly no such luck. The odd gardener would look up and answer my questions but they were sure as eggs not letting me loose in their wee space.
Ross made me move on when I started to look a bit like a storker.
A little Bit of History About Allotment Gardens.
Allotments have been in existence for hundreds of years, dating back to Anglo Saxton times.
The system that is used now dates back to the first world war where poor working families were given a patch of ground to grow vegetables for the family.
Allotments are leased from landlords, allotment holders are required to pay rent, most are in the region of £25 -£125 per year. Churchs and Councils and amoung the landlords.
The trend in people wanting to grow their own food is on the rise, and currently it is estimated that over 90,000 gardeners want an allotment and are on waiting lists. (This figure does not include the numbers held by Parish or Town Council) Some people can expect to wait 5 to 8 years for an allotment to be come available.
Trends show that during times of recession people turn back to the land, wanting to reconnect with something tangible while at the same time experiencing home-grown food, which costs less and is better for us. . Today, with our economic uncertainly on a global scale, the desire for more space to grow food locally and experience life’s simple pleasures has reignited the call for more allotments. Figures suggest there are approximately 330,000 allotment plots in the UK, but to meet the current demand they need at least a further 90,000 plots.
In conclusion I have come home with a renewed sense of appreciation for my patch, I don't have to catch a bus, lug endless amounts of supplies or pay an annual rent. Furthermore, if I want to expand my patch I can and finally the best bit is I can pop down to my garden in the dark to pick tonights dinner.