10 to 16 August is National Allotments Week.
And for us it's highly apposite as this weekend it was our village flower and vegetable show. For HB (show secretary) it's been a very busy week preparing for the show to ensure everything ran smoothly on Saturday (which of course it did!), for the rest of us it's more a case of worrying about the state of the spuds when they were to be lifted on Friday night or fretting that the fuchsia is drooping and should it have some more water, a little feed or maybe it's overwatered - oh dear it's all so stressful!*
The theme this year for National Allotments Week is A Plot for All Ages, designed to emphasise the benefits that allotments bring to everyone regardless of age or gender and to also highlight the fact that we need to value our remaining plots and preserve them for future generations to enjoy. I have vivid memories of gardening with my Grandad, the scent of chrysanthemum cuttings and nipped out tomato sideshoots sends me straight back to his greenhouse, sitting with him listening to the cricket carefully dibbing small cuttings down the side (always down the side!) of a plant pot full of a compost and perlite / vermiculite mix. He taught me how to deadhead rose, and helped me pull up his carrots growing down the side of the house letting me eat the small ones straight away - after brushing off the soil of course! My Dad and I spent many happy hours pottering in the veg patch in silent contented companionship whilst Mum and I chattered away weeding the rockery. Gardening brings back many happy memories and even now neither Mum nor I can pod broadbeans, running fingers through the soft white fluff inside the pods, without remembering the summer the crop was slightly too good and we sat on the front step in the sunshine podding pounds of beans - we all had black thumbs and a freezerful to see us through the dark winter days.
Gardening is recommended as a way to leave the stresses and strains of work and daily life behind, a form of productive exercise, on community plots (TCV Growing Green for example) as a way to bring together potentially isolated people together giving them a space to grow their vegetables and flowers and also a chance to connect them not only to each other and their community but also with nature.
So find out what's happening in your area, get involved and start making memories - and fill your plates and freezer too!
*BTW: Everyone came home from the show with fistsful of prize cards and a few cups, special mention to the elder little Miss W who won not one but two cups!