As many of you already know, we began our journey into allotment gardening two years ago with a large, sunny plot at Ottawa’s city-run allotments in the Alta Vista neighbourhood. The garden is 25′ x 50′ and when we arrived in the spring of 2011, our designated plot was boggy (ok, under water!) and unkempt.
When we were finally able to access it after the water had subsided, we carefully pulled up all the sturdy tomato stakes, piled them in a corner and waited for our delivery of mushroom compost.
Of course, when we returned, the stakes were nowhere to be found.
We started slowly and methodically and finally had a significant portion (say, two-thirds) of the entire plot prepared and then planted. At the end of Year 1, we had tamed much of the space, leaving it top-dressed with straw to await the spring of 2012.
Then, this past year we had a relatively dry season. But miraculously, we still had a bountiful harvest.
Not least of which the cutting garden – it was rapturous!
Of course, this is from someone who has a relatively small city plot, mostly shade, where it has never been possible to seed annuals simply for the joy of cutting and filling vases in the house.
But now I present you with the real reason for this post. Behold: the epitome of veggie gardening — the gardens at Longwood.
Honestly, a girl can dream can’t she?
Now I know that Longwood has an army of gardeners working on these display gardens, and a wealth of knowledge, but it’s good to have something to aspire to, no?
Meanwhile, in our own allotment, I will have to make crisper edges, organize my veggies better as well as place ornamental flowers and vegetables so that they make sense visually (my nasturtiums last year looked lovely as young plants but soon overran both the plants next to them as well as the path) — I think I’ll use the ‘Lemon Gem’ and ‘Tangerine Gem’ marigolds as an edger next to the leafy veggies.
I’ll also think about constructing more efficient and effective plant supports, something that Longwood does spectacularly.
And growing monster sunflowers ….just for the joy of it (and to feed the birds)!
Now don’t be telling me that veggie gardening is all about the harvest because yes, I am in agreement with that. But as an ornamental gardener primarily, I am determined to make my allotment a feast for the eyes as well as for the belly :c)
As it stands, I have a long way to go! I can’t wait for the spring …. I’ll keep you posted.