I was first introduced to gardening by my cousin Betty with a lesson on pruning roses. She would visit our family house once a week and we’d go into the garden and throughout the coming months and years I learnt much practical knowledge, mostly flowers.
A few weeks into my new hobby Betty suggested that I accompanied her to the local gardening society. Each month they held a lecture followed by a cheese and wine buffet. One my first visit I was asked if I wanted to buy some raffle tickets for their draw, I did and went on to win a box of fresh vegetables. As everyone cheered my cousin lent over and whispered: “You’ll have to join the society now or they’ll lynch you.”
Later I would become their Publicity Officer to promote the monthly lectures, help increase the membership and attract publicity for the two annual flower and vegetable shows. We gained mentions in the local newspaper and national press. During one year I managed to secure a visit by TV gardeners Geoff Amos and Howard Drury who drove from Birmingham to South Wales for the day. Geoff loved our little tea room and enjoyed our full range of cakes. They were so impressed they spoke about our little village show on the following show which went out on ITV.
It was with this society that I took on my first allotment, using The Allotment Handbook by Alan Titchmarsh as my guide and surrounded by a wealth of first hand knowledge by the elderly gardeners. The allotment was situated on the side of a mountain overlooking the valley below. Each Sunday Betty and I would meet at our allotment site stores, here you could buy a range of tools, seeds and bulbs, fertilisers, canes, etc. Betty wasn’t really into vegetables but had some experience when her family grew crops in their garden.
“Get to the allotment as soon as you wake up and pee on your cabbages.”
That was the first bit of advice I was given by one of the old guard gardeners and it really does help improve their growth.
More to follow soon…