Wow! It has been a year since I started my allotment journey and began Life at No.27. What a year it has been and one of the best decisions I ever made!
I still remember the first day I visited the plot so vividly, I was so excited. The plot was over grown and full of perennial weeds but I couldn’t help but love the gate entrance, the greenhouse/shed and the ability to be able to drive straight up to it. Right next to water station too, I couldn’t turn it down.
Did I have any experience growing my own produce? No
Had I ever done any gardening? No
Had I grown anything from seed before? No
Had I watched a few YouTube videos? Yes
Had I read a few ‘Grow your own’ magazines? Yes
Did I have so much enthusiasm it was infectious? Yes
Has this contagious enthusiasm stayed? Most definitely!
With no experience and limited knowledge, why did I want an allotment you may ask?
There is so many reasons, starting with wanting to know where my produce came from, the ability to grow organically, to save money and create something that was my little bit of paradise.
A passion for gardening runs through my family, my grandparents have always been passionate gardeners, so is my auntie and one of my uncles has is own landscaping business so the need to get my hands dirty and be creative must be ingrained in me.
But the main reason is…I can’t resist a challenge!
I can’t leave out Monty Don too, his passion is contagious and since the beginning of my journey his down to earth nature and incredible ability to inspire has kept me going and thriving to create my vision.
So here was the sight that lay before me; the clueless but most enthusiastic newbie gardener:
As I remember typing in one of my first blogs, I felt completely overwhelmed but so excited! Full of couch grass, nettles and many other relentless weeds it could be seen as a nightmare, but the fact I was clueless meant that I was oblivious as to what would be before my eyes once I started digging.
The toughest, thickest and longest roots covered in thick clay soil, but also surrounded by tons of wonderful wiggly worms.
It has been an amazing year, tough and back breaking at times, but the best experience ever. Nothing compares to the pride and excitement I feel when I’m at the plot and I see new growth and changes.
So how does one celebrate their first allotment birthday? As I said the other week, you can’t just let is pass without doing anything, can you?!
Thursday night as a belated birthday present, I went to see my inspiration live at The Anvil in Basingstoke. Yes, the one and only, Monty Don!
As one of you tweeted as I waited to go in, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, so excited! Monty gave us a wonderful behind the scenes tour of Longmeadow, tales of his rollercoaster journey to success and of course he didn’t leave Nigel out. I can’t recommend the show enough, so passionate, inspiring, humorous and most importantly down to earth.
I am now even more excited to meet him in person alongside Sarah Raven next month at Perch Hill. I will try stay cool and not become an embarrassing mess, promise. After his talk, I have so many questions to ask and definitely a selfie to take.
Yesterday on No.27’s actual birthday, I had to visit, celebrate my achievements to date and the incredible journey I have dreamed and created.
I did plenty of digging and chatting with my lovely neighbour, Sarah, all very standard events. But this wasn’t before I had tucked into a special birthday cake, a vanilla sponge and buttercream cupcake, yum!
I didn’t think I could feel anymore excited, but then in between digging and pulling out tree roots I took a break to take a peak between the mass of cosmos flowers into the wildlife pond! All looked very normal until I noticed…..my first fully grown FROG!!!
I was so excited that I started taking lots of photos to share with you now, then ran over to my neighbour to show her!
If you have been following me you will know that back in June, I did a blog where I told how I had let some baby frogs out near the pond. I can’t help but hope that this frog is one of those babies.
Before I finish, to any newbies….if you are thinking about putting your name on the waiting list or taking the keys to your first plot, stop thinking and say yes!
Most importantly, I want to say thank you to all my followers on here, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for supporting me on my journey, many of whom I now class as friends. A few of you have been with me right from the beginning, giving me advice, motivational words, even tools and many have joined along the way, you all have been wonderful! Sharing my journey has been just as incredible as creating it, so I can’t thank you enough.
I also want to give a massive thank you to a few names in particular;
Katie Lane from Lavender and Leeks, the wonderful blogger and Youtube star who inspired me to share my journey through blogging. Katie was the first person I came across online and being the same age as myself instantly felt I could relate to.
Dave Watkiss at Drystone Radio for giving me the opportunity to have my monthly radio slot; sharing my journey with the listeners and giving monthly advice on the jobs to be doing on the plot.
Grow your own Magazine, for giving me my first full page feature! I will always remember the first time I ever bought a copy when the idea of having an allotment was just a dream. To open the July 2016 edition and see Life at No.27 in print with my name, was the most overwhelming and incredible feeling. I danced around the house crying hysterically with happiness for ages!
Hopefully this will be the first of many to come; as I always say……..a girl can dream!