Changes in the Allotment

Being on an exposed hillside makes us aware of how the wind hits our plot, no more so than today with high winds and squalls. After cutting the new path in the cutting garden a couple of days ago, we have fallen in love with its sinuous curve. It makes the garden look wider and in some ways more intimate and less regimental.

However, since we've put the arch in there is a noticeable problem with the vegetable patch, the path runs as a distinct angle and is too straight. The section is less of a garden and more of an allotment. Even though this is the vegetable patch we want to got for the French Potager style. The fruit bed has been a disaster this year bar strawberries and it has been decided it would be best to put all the fruit in a cage to keep the birds out. This means a rethink from the straight lines to something more curvy to mirror the cutting garden.

We have been tinkering with ideas and have decided it would be best to extend the hornbeam hedge towards the white utility shed. Then curve the path to the right echoing the curve to the left in the cutting garden. This would create two smaller beds for salad crops and one large bed. The hot crops, courgettes etc will be moved into the proposed polytunnel. The new large bed to the left will be split in two with box, which will be used throughout this part of the garden to edge the borders. The lower twenty feed of the large bed will be handed over to a purpose built fruitcage. It will create smaller beds to the right but it will also provide a micro climate as the hedges grow, keeping down the winds and shading the glasshouse beyond from the worst of the sun. Beyond the extended hornbeam hedge will be a further step up bed, this bed has always been higher than the path and there is a real need to build steps up to it and create a deep bed for potatoes, cabbages and other hungry plants. This bed will be around twenty foot square. These changes mean we can start to run a gravity watering system around the garden from our waterbutts and more waterbutts can be installed beside the utility shed to feed the fruitcage.

These images give you an idea of space when the hedges have matured in five years time. This is an approximation of their final height (ranging from 5 feet on the west and east borders to over 6 feet in the north and south border to reflect the sloping gradient).

There is now a real sense of a journey from what will be the cutting garden into the potager garden. This journey will finally take you through the working heart of the garden, the glasshouse and proposed polytunnel and coldframes before spilling you out into the large orchard and entertainment area. Hedges play a key part in this garden, they slow down the wind, protect the plants and create a living screen. These are only plans and in no way mirror the original plans we drew out three years ago, the simple reason is the longer you spend with a garden the more you realise its needs. These ideas are only minor tweaks but it would be good to hear what you think of them.