Allotments have traditionally been places where you grew potatoes and a few other vegetables and some fruit such as strawberries, blackcurrants and maybe a gooseberry. Rhubarb was essential as it was very easy and most people had some spare crowns they could pass on to newcomers. In the days of old when there were very few ladies on site, flowers were frowned upon as you could not eat them. It was definitely a man’s world. Allotments today have moved forward to meet the needs of the leisure gardener who may not have a garden at home so the plot is the area for outdoor recreation. There are just as many ladies as guys with plots, and kids are very welcome to participate, do some watering and grow the sunflowers, pumpkins and whatever they fancy. The lessons and pleasure of eating your own home grown plants from seeds or cuttings stay with most kids as they grow up.
Allotments have usually had a shed for tools and somewhere to shelter when it rains, a greenhouse for the tomatoes and maybe even a Black Hamburg grape vine, and now today a patio or somewhere to sit is essential. Outdoor living during the summer months requires a patio, a table and chairs and maybe a barbeque. To complete the picture the allotment needs to be attractive to the eye so flowers are now present on most folks plot. Tubs and hanging baskets adorn the patio surrounds, and flower beds and borders blend the sheds and fences into the landscape.
Chrysanthemums, gladioli, dahlias and sweet peas are very popular for cut flower, and all sorts of annuals and perennials can be used for flower borders from spring till autumn.
City Road has a wealth of flowering borders adjacent to the main path creating a very attractive approach through the site. However hidden away in the plots you can find flowering shrubs such as hypericums, philadelphus, brooms, roses and herbaceous foxgloves, iris, day lilies, pinks and osteospermums. Some gardeners have grown natural wild plants to brighten up their plots, and annual poppies are always very popular, provided seed heads are removed to stop them taken over.
One plot even has a pond with gorgeous white water lilies. Hopefully when the tadpoles enjoying a wee swim at the present moment, grow into frogs they will seek out the numerous slugs and have themselves a wee feast.
Spring time sees a wealth of daffodils, tulips and crocus, then Iceland poppies take us into summer with all sorts of plants. Fruit trees are also becoming very popular with apples, plums, cherries and pears adding height to the spring flowers.
Herbs are becoming very popular as attractive plants on site and useful in the kitchen. Chives, lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme are plentiful.
Plant of the week
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) is one of the best climbers for scent. It flowers in mid summer and is very easy to grow. It likes moist fertile soil that is well drained and flowers best in full sun. Give it a fence or some kind of support to twine around and in time it will grow ten or more feet tall.