It’s always bothered me that I don’t grow much in the way of veg. When I started out on my growing journey over ten years ago I wanted to be a market gardener but the lack of land meant I couldn’t (though not for want of trying to find some!!). Flowers are a higher profit crop and using them in floristry work means I can cram a lot in on much less land. Flowers also somehow win your heart, creep into your thoughts (and your seed order) and now I couldn’t imagine life without them….

But I’ve felt that lack of homegrown produce. I’m vegetarian, so nice, varied, vitamin rich vegetables are really important to me! I resent buying produced that has travelled a long way to my kitchen. I really do want to live as lightly on the earth as I can. But I also want to dedicate my whole garden to growing flowers.

So finally, I bit the bullet and asked for an allotment. I’m so pleased I did, the people I’ve met through it have been wonderful, and although it’s a huge learning curve for me it’s been really good. I have made some harvests, am learning what grows well on the land, what defences are best against the ever present and hungry rabbit population and how bizarrely how different the soil is at this end of town to the other end where we live.

I found a silver ring – not old, but along with the odd clay pipe stem, a reminder that these allotments have been here and used for a long time!

Gradually I’ve been clearing the nettles, thistles, docks and teasels. The allotment had not been used in earnest for some time. There are some really good gooseberry bushes, and currants. I’ve netted everything apart from the broad beans against voles, rabbits and cabbage white butterflies. I’m so happy with my carrots! And my own house rabbits are so happy with the carrot tops! The winter cabbages are to my amazement developing hearts (I’m writing this in late September). I have high hopes for the leeks and wished I’d sown more. But that’s part of the learning curve.

Things that went badly wrong were courgettes, all the other beans and onions – all eaten by things other than me. As I always say with flower growing “next will be different, next year will be better”. In truth, next year somethings are always better, but something else will not grow or be eaten or fail to germinate!

I’m also growing a very small crop of flax, having read somewhere that all medieval farmers used to grow a patch of flax to weave into linen, so they could sew their own smocks. I can spin, and have a loom, though I’ve never processed or spun flax. That would be quite the project…..and I’m looking forward to giving it a go some time!

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Flower grower florist based in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria UK creating florals for weddings, events and locally delivered bouquets.