After years of longing and biding my time on waiting lists I can’t believe I’m finally saying it, but I officially have an allotment!! Although I’ve dreamt of one for years, I feel like it couldn’t have come at a better time, both in terms of time in the year and in life! As you may know, I am currently studying floristry full time at college after my dream to work with flowers and nature grew until I finally decided to do something about it. I am absolutely loving my studies and although the course has come with a lot of paper work, it has definitely confirmed that floristry is something I want to pursue as my passion for the craft has continued to grow by the day as I practice and learn more and more! My dreams of starting a cutting garden and growing my very own flowers goes pretty much hand in hand with this and my obsession with horticulture and all things growing is as strong as ever! There is so much to learn about horticulture and aside from being Monty Don’s number one fan, I’ve been self studying the subject every day with books upon books that I can hardly seem to prise myself away from.
The environment is so important to me, and since starting my studies in August it has provoked a lot of thought about what I can do to ensure my floristry practises are as sustainable as possible. There is so much room for improvement in the industry, from the use of plastic to the importing of flowers, and having my very own cutting garden is a very good starting point for my sustainability ethos. On my allotment I am going to grow everything organically from seed and cuttings, completely free from pesticides and as sustainably and plastic free as I possibly can. It’s going to be a real project and a big learning curve, but it is one that I am incredibly passionate about and I am beyond excited that I can finally get started with it! From the moment I heard I was actually getting my very own plot I’ve been grinning from ear to ear and have not stopped thinking about it, plotting and planning endless ideas!
The allotment I have taken on is part of a beautiful little allotment site with ten plots in total, nestled in the beautiful Aberdeenshire countryside with a blissful soundtrack of birdsong and the most stunning views of farmers fields all around. It really is such a perfect setting to completely immerse myself in nature and I feel very lucky that I’m going to be spending my days sowing and growing in such a beautiful environment! As well as each individual plot, the allotment has a beautiful communal area with an apple orchard, a shed full of tools and big poly tunnel for everyone to share! It really feels like the loveliest little community and everyone is has been so friendly and welcoming towards me making it even lovelier a place.
It was so exciting to visit for the first time, get the measuring tape out and decide on the first steps to turn the plot into my very own little flower farm. We took measurements of the space and started planning the layout of where my flower beds would go. That night we sketched out plans for the plot, and even managed to source some reclaimed wood to turn into raised flower beds! We picked up our wood the next day and headed back to the plot to get started on clearing the site making way for the raised beds.
The plot is in pretty good condition, with lots of lovely organic compost already there and ready to use. The layout of the plot is going to stay very much the same, our plans being to remove all of the old wood, clearing and relining the site and replacing the beds that were already there with six main raised flower beds. During our first mornings work on the allotment we managed to clear the plot of any unwanted inheritance and strip it back to a good starting point. We then spent the afternoon making the first flower bed! Firstly we removed the old wood, followed by the compost. We measured and dug out the flower bed then my handy husband measured and cut lengths of the reclaimed wood and before I knew it raised bed number one was complete, just before sunset! And it looks even better than I could have imagined, I am completely and utterly delighted with it!!
The next day off I had headed back over to the allotment eager to sow my first seeds under the warmth of the poly tunnel. I had never used a poly tunnel before so this was very exciting!! The sun was shining and the temperature inside it was almost 30 degrees, the perfect condition for little seeds to germinate! I spent the afternoon sowing my seeds and pottering in the poly tunnel feeling as content as ever!! I have started my sowing for the year with Sweet Peas, Phlox, Cornflowers and Lizianthus and I can’t wait to watch their progress. In a bid to be completely sustainable and eco friendly, I’ve sown my seeds in Organic Peat Free Compost housed in biodegradable seed pots made from recycled paper. To label my seeds I’m using little wooden tags instead of plastic ones and I’ll only ever be using organic products to help my plants along. It won’t be long before I can sow the next batch of seeds in March and I am already looking forward to it!
Next up on the agenda is to continue making the raised beds until all six are complete, meanwhile I can continue sowing seeds in the poly tunnel and plan my planting for the year ahead. All going well by the end of March the raised beds will almost be ready and we can crack on with the next job before the next of my Allotment Diaries on the blog, which I hope to post once a month! I have big plans for my allotment cutting garden and am so excited to turn it into Hollie Berries very own little flower farm! Very exciting times indeed!!