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A journal of successes and failures on our allotment in Birmingham which we took over stewardship of in October 2022.

My husband and I grow fruit, vegetables and cut flowers on our plot. As we don’t have a garden of our own at home, our allotment doubles as outdoor space so we like things to be pretty. A traditional allotment is a functional space, but for us our allotment is also a pleasure garden, and needs to be beautiful.

The plan is to keep things organic and cause as little soil disturbance as possible by layering homemade compost on our beds each year for the worms to work into the soil rather than digging them over and manually incorporating compost in the traditional way. We did initially dig it all over with forks, because it was a burial ground of bricks, plastic and all sorts of other junk, as well as lots of deeply rooted perennial weeds.

Recent Cosmos Posies From the Allotment


One of the best decisions I made for our allotment was to grow lots of flowers alongside our edible crops. I sowed seeds with both pollinators and cut flowers in mind. We’ve struggled with slugs, badgers, foxes, squirrels, sandy soil, too little rain and then too much rain, but one thing we haven’t struggled with is pollination, and I put that down to our plot having large stands of cerinthe, chamomile, buckwheat, phacelia, calendula and cosmos to attract pollinating insects who then stick around to pollinate our vegetables. I’m growing dahlias too, but most of my dahlias are decorative varieties with closed centres, which are just grown as cut flowers. I don’t feel bad about the inaccessible centres of my dahlias because there are plenty of open centred flowers that the bees and wasps can enjoy. They don’t go without.

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Allotment |

Late Summer Surprises


Cosmos ‘white cupcakes’

The larger varieties of cosmos I am growing this year have started to open. This one is called cosmos ‘white cupcakes’ because the petals are fused together so that it looks like a paper cupcake (or fairy cake) case. They’re so pretty.

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A Bouquet for Friends


One of Ed’s running friends and his fiancée have recently had a baby, and I really wanted to be able to give them a bunch of home-grown flowers to celebrate. Baby girl was born towards the end of July but our wet and overcast summer, coupled with our first year soil, has meant that our flowers weren’t quite ready. Knowing that life with a newborn and your firstborn is quite full on and there will have been lots of people queuing up to congratulate them and meet their daughter, we waited a couple of weeks for the flowers to be ready before paying them a visit ourselves, with flowers and a loaf of homemade bread.

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