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allotments community gardening garden buildings Shropshire

Celebrating Autumn at the Allotment

As many of you will already know we celebrate every season at our allotments, Bowbrook Allotment Community, so recently it was the turn of Autumn which we linked with Halloween. We want to make children aware of the seasons, how each is different, how they are part of a cycle and we want to emphasize seasonality. This is easy on an allotment site where we harvest fresh fruit and veg all year round . It is also the time of year when we cut our wildflower meadows. This is a job done by families or small groups and once they are cut it takes a while to get used to their short hair cuts. We are sowing the semi-parasitic wildflower, Yellow Rattle, in some of our meadows. This useful little plant is an attractive yellow flowered native plant which parasitises on the roots of the tougher species of grasses which means there is less competition for our wild flowers.

At our Autumn Celebration we invited members to take part in a competition to decorate their sheds following the theme of Halloween. Our judge enjoyed the experience even though it was a long job.

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One couple and their daughter decorated their plot and spread the ghosts across into the nearby tree. It looked great!

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Our tea committee were in attendance providing hot drinks and cakes. They even decorated their tea shop. One of the committee, Tracy, made toffee apples using apples from our community orchards. These proved most popular. Once it got dark we lit the barbeque and we all cooked our food on it We also lit our fire pits so we had the inviting aromas of wood smoke and BBQ cooking.

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This year we decided to invite everyone, children and adults to dress up in appropriate gear. Jude and I joined in as a witch and Dracula which upset some of the youngest children who didn’t like us looking like that. The first picture below shows us in our costumes.

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We held a competition for carved pumpkin lanterns and both children and adults took part. Liz, a committee member, organised fun games for the youngsters, which as always were very popular and played with the sound of laughter.

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When Darkness fell we lit the lamps, lit the candles in the pumpkin lanterns and took off for a walk around the site with the lit pumpkin lanterns to show the way. The children loved walking in the dark with their lanterns and visiting all the spooky sheds lit up. Some adults stayed to enjoy coffees around the fire pits.

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And a great time was had by all! Lots of members during the evening asked when our next celebration was. It will be our Winter/Christmas Celebrations. That will be a future post.

 

 

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allotments community gardening garden buildings Winter Gardening

A day of destruction as a funnel hits our allotments

Last week a wild wind phenomenon hit our allotments and left a trail of destruction in its wake. A “funnel” tore its way across the plots and it flattened sheds in its path. It moved sheds from their bases. It took the roofs off others. Anything light was scattered about, compost bins, water butts and cold-frames.

In the first pair of pictures half of the felt from the shed roofs had been torn off typical of the minor damage to many sheds. Others like the one in the third photo had been blown from off its base and it collapsed in a heap, with the contents crushed inside. See if you can see which bit is which.

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Others fell off their bases and landed on their sides remaining almost intact while others lost their roofs which took off like kites.

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On our own plot there was little damage. We had an allotment years ago on another very windy site so we  were prepared like all good scouts and guides. We had sunk heavy fence posts at each corner of our shed and fixed the shed by screwing it firmly from the inside. (see photo below). Our tripods had crashed, our wooden planks awaiting transformation into a raised bed for strawberries were blown across the plot, our central metal gazebo was well bent and our flying scarecrow, Biggles, was blown from the top of it and we found his plane crash landed nearby but sadly Biggles and his head had parted company.

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This devastation came in the middle of an ongoing problem with water-logging and floods, so it really felt as if the weather had got it in for us.

At home we did not get the funnel passing through but we had days of gale force winds roaring through the garden. It managed to lift our lovely Ceanothus right out of the ground roots and all! The tree ties had been broken and the tree stake had snapped a few inches from the ground. The last of our rose arches finally collapsed hurrying up our replacing them with wooden arches.

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When Jude and I next went up the lotties a week after the great storm we were amazed to find everything had been put back to how things were before, most of the sheds were back on their bases, roofs repaired and those that had toppled over were upright again. The biggest surprise of all was to see the shed that had barrel-rolled down the path back on its base and looking pretty good considering. Without saying a word to Paul, the owner of the shed, some fellow allotmenteers had got together and moved it back for him. Just look how good it looks in the photo below. In the second photo if you look in the background to the right you can see Henry’s shed also back in place and roof repaired. This is why we call our site Bowbrook Allotment Community with the emphasis on community.

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The storm hit mostly during the night and then had abated by mid-morning. In the afternoon two members emailed me with photos and details of the plots that had received damage. This meant that I could contact the individuals concerned and let them know the sad news. One couple went round the sight with a smart phone and as they found a plot that had sustained some damage they sent me a photo with details and plot number.They even made some damaged sheds safe and did temporary repairs. This sort of helping each other is what makes life easy for me as Chairman. I felt proud to be involved!

Most of the photos in this post are from members of Bowbrook Allotment Community.

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allotments community gardening

New sheds for the lotties.

We have been running out of storage for our communal equipment and bits and pieces at the allotment, so something just had to be done. We applied for a grant to purchase a couple of bike sheds which we could fit between our existing communal huts.

Can there really be a shed in that package? When unpacked there seemed so many pieces.

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The base was put down, sand and ballast with paving slabs on top.

2013 07 24_2102 We soon set about painting all the individual pieces with a protective brown paint.

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It was a job well done and we emailed fellow allotment committee member, Peter who was going to put them together for us.

The first shed looked good when he had finished constructing it and a group of us spent a morning loading it up with the materials and equipment we use on our community days. We were impressed with how much this little shed held.

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The trouble was that once we had done this we had another to do, so the whole process started all over again! So, out come the paint brushes, screw drivers, …….

Categories
allotments community gardening gardening grow your own

Wise Words on Sheds

Since our allotment site opened three years ago, many allotmenteers have put plaques on their sheds and signs have appeared in all sorts of places. Words of wisdom and humour!

Let’s take a wander and see what we can find.

I fixed this quote to the side of one of our communal buildlings. it is very popular with visitors.
Could be true!
Lovely sentiment.
Memories of "The Good Life".
No weeds on this plot!
So true!
We can't argue with that!
Even the site's manure wheelbarrow and a breeze block have signs.
I wonder what goes in that barrow?
Dave's welcoming sign.
Fred's impressive door furniture.

Two youngsters, Ethan and Elliot, seem to have forgotten their Mum, Mandy, when they made their sign. Mandy’s plant labels are so attractive and original.