Monday, 26 September 2016
Falling in love again
Poor allotment. I didn't love it enough this year. In fact it took on the mantle of millstone towards the end of the season. I didn't spend enough hours there and the weeds saw their chance. I had big plans for a few days spent there in the summer holidays, but somehow it didn't happen. Where did the holidays go exactly?
I'd been thinking about whether to continue with the plot or not. Anyone who has one will know what I mean. It's the weeds mostly. The ground can be completely clear one day and invisible below a swathe of weeds within a month. But I know that part of me would be heartbroken to say goodbye. And I know myself. My moods and energy roll in and out and change constantly. The day would come when I would regret it.
In a spare moment last week I flicked open Cleve West's "Our Plot".
It's the story of the allotments he and his wife tend. Despite both working full time, they took on an overgrown plot, then another one, then another one, then, well, you get the picture. The photographs are sumptuous. Beans climbing up wigwams, raised beds filled with every type of edible, paths disappearing into green jungles, higgledy sheds, oh, it's paradise.
I know my plot isn't likely to look like that, but it gives me hope that with some effort I might capture a bit of the magic. When the weather is dry I shall be back down there, clearing the ground ready for the dormant season. I'm deploying weedproof fabric over the biggest areas until I'm ready to plant. Hopefully that will help.
The last time I was down there the littlest boy pointed out that the weeds were flowering and that there were bees on the flowers. So I'm thinking of it more as a wild flower patch.
In the middle of the allotment site there's a plot that's absolutely covered with bees. CT kindly identified them for me, as ivy mining bees. There are thousands of them, just on this one plot. They are flying only a few inches from the ground and disappearing into holes in the earth. I'm on a mission to save them from destruction, as I have a feeling that certain factions like to exterminate anything wild.
So you see, I'm back in love with my plot and the whole allotment thing. It's only ever a momentary wobble I think. It can be quite overwhelming at times, but I shall try and make it more manageable next year and put in a bit more effort. And any time I'm not feeling it I shall get out Cleve's book and spend a happy hour looking at his beautiful plots.