Thursday, 21 June 2012

'Gardening is an act of faith in the future'

I had an allotment when we lived in Edinburgh.  When I took it on it could only be described as a very small field!  It had all the nasties to be dealt with - couch grass, mare's tail - all the usual stuff that gardener's don't want.  The first year was spent laboriously clearing it and planning for the next year.  By year three it was my own little bit of heaven and extremely productive in terms of vegetables, fruit and flowers.  And my longed for shed was in situ.  I loved my shed.  I painted it blue and got a slight ticking off from the allotment officer - it should have been green or brown. Quite a few other blue sheds popped up after that, which amused me slightly!  We had summer suppers in it and even trekked up there on Valentine's Day, in the pitch black with a take-away curry and sat in candle light to enjoy our dinner!   It was a magical place.

Apart from all the gardening tools and paraphernalia I had many treasures in my shed.  They didn't have any value - paintings and drawings that meant something to me and other bits and bobs.  I didn't think it was a silly thing to keep them there because it seemed secure enough.  I didn't bargain on some mindless vandals coming along one January night armed with wire cutters to get into the allotment site and petrol and rags to use to burn my shed plus one other down to less than a cinder.  It really broke my heart.  My only personal space was just wiped out for no possible reason.  Of course the police never caught the little blighters.  I would have like to have spoken to them if they had, just to explain to them what they had really done.  No such luck unfortunately.  

We have moved out of Edinburgh now so I no longer work my site but allotment gardens always attract me, a bit like a moth to a flame!  A few weeks ago, when we were visiting St Kilda, we walked past possibly one of the most crazy spots on the planet!  An allotment site which could easily double as a sculpture park - it's completely bonkers!  It is open to visitors but we didn't have time to stop so earlier this week, on a rare beautiful blue winter's day, we returned to St Kilda to have a wander round.  Here are a few of the many photos I took, starting with the entrance gate.
There is a sign as you enter the allotments.  In case you can't read it clearly, this is what it says.

We come to Veg Out to :
  • create a safe and supportive haven for all:
  • promote a sense of community where trust, knowledge and responsibility are shared;
  • nurture creativity and the environment;  and
  • ensure equity and philanthropy are actively encouraged.
'Gardening is an act of faith in the future'
Every plot has a post box!
The Luna Park roller coaster ride is just across the road.
One site was a big chicken run, with a rather laid-back keeper of chooks.
One very ship-shape site!
And another reminiscent of Star Wars!  There is a small dog with a beady eye in there somewhere.
Amongst all the fun and games there is a lot of serious veggie cultivation!  Wonderful salad leaves, cabbage leaves, broccoli, cavolo nero, leeks etc
and of course, cacti!
I rather liked the compost heap.  It looks a bit like rusting iron but it's an ancient vine.  
I have loads of photos of this crazy place but I hope the above gives you the general idea!  

My old allotment site had a wonderful positive charge which you felt the moment you unlocked the gate and walked down the path.  All the cares of the day just fell away.  The St Kilda site was the same.  Perhaps not quite such a peaceful place as my Midmar but magical nevertheless.

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