Sunday, 2 August 2009

'Allotment Toimes'

Once upon a time there was a Mancunian with bad teeth, a loud laugh and a massive barnet. He made friends with a wicked girl called Kate who worked at Thinktank, with many years worth of gardening experience. Having no idea what he was doing at least 100% of the time, the Mancunian needed a direction in his wayward life. This was to happen in a fortuitous meeting at Sainsbury's with her and Jacob. Slippery footed, the Mancunian was lead to their secret garden. Looking out as it snowed, brew in hand, the vision crystallized - months of toil to make what was already a beautiful garden (latent) into something really special. Little did Kate know how much the barnet would put into it. Looking back, I don't think anyone did. Adopting the moniker of Parsley and Oregano aka G Unit (Gardening Unit not 50 cent and his crew) - they worked from February to July on the secret garden in preparation for her and Jake's wedding .

Kate was really lucky to snag an allotment deal just before the honeymoon. Once she came back, we could start work in earnest. I was excited by the prospect of an allotment and the kudos of owning one - yet it was curious for me for two reasons. One : I barely eat vegetables. Two : I have the most minimal knowledge of landscape gardening and horticulture possible. This blog will hopefully remedy that. I am an utter greenhorn. But my heart is invested, as are my Pythons (arms).

The first day of work was Friday, just gone. Kate and her parents, Jake and I tooled up and headed out. As the photos I have attached will attest, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Kate's mum's face says it all. Nonetheless we got to it. Alan's petrol strimmer gave out after snagging a stump, so we were left with the prospect of using a scythe, which presses my buttons in an oblique way.

Instead, we used secateurs and good old fashioned Python power (see above). The previous owner had used the space as a dumping ground for countless cans and bottles of cider, which made me sad and angry by turns. The stink of old alcohol, combined with slop, mud, worms, beetles, etc was abject, but in a way it made me more determined to work. After all, nothing could top my days at Lancashire Dairies, shovelling the most Godawful mess into a skip, but that dear reader, is another story altogether.

We sat on our salvaged plastic chairs on the 'Pavillion' to have lunch and discuss just what the hell we were doing. It was, no it still is daunting. I have no doubt it will take years and years to attain greatness. But I look forward to it. Already made friends with a really sound guy called John who warned us of the wasps nest which lies in a huge clump of nettles. John has been on the allotment for four years, and has two burgeoning, beautiful plots. In fact the whole place is beautiful, serene and apart from the world I grow ever more chary of.
We pushed on, constructing a rudimentary compost bin from old palettes, stuffing it with evil nettles. I went nuts on a length of wire, pulling a tangle of it from some bushes. Kate came out with a classic : 'Have you got a license for those pythons?' Haha. Happy Allotment times. Watch this space for more Parsley and Oregano adventures.

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