Out There column

Raised beds in garden.
Raised beds in garden.

The good life is back. After years without an allotment I’ve finally converted part of our garden in Caton into an allotment-style plot.

At one time I had an allotment at Highfield near Williamson Park in Lancaster and a few years after that I moved to a plot at Dorrington Road Allotments in the city.

Both allotments were special places, but in some ways they were rather too large for my needs.

However, in my own garden I have created a compact growing area with three dinky raised beds and space for a sizeable greenhouse.

The garden was a jungle of overgrown plants and weeds when we moved in.

I’ve spent the last three years developing different areas for flowering plants and trees.

Earlier this year I bit the bullet and started removing several thuggish shrubs to make way for veg.

One area was so riddled with ‘snowberry’ (also known as waxberry, ghostberry, or by its botanical name of symphoricarpos) that I called the boys in.

Two seemingly tireless landscape gardeners used lethal-looking pick axes and metal poles to prise the roots of the bush out of the ground.

Likewise, the area where I plan to erect a greenhouse was riddled with tree roots.

The same gardeners have just spent two days digging a different area up and laying slabs for the greenhouse to sit on.

Where we live is not dissimilar to life on an allotment.

All of my near neighbours have lovely gardens and most of them grow fruit and veg. We often share ideas and swap tales of gardening woe.

I met a gardener who had worked on some of the gardens on our street as well as at Gresgarth Hall, who said we were lucky as the soil is so fertile.

The final result is both attractive and functional.

We now have three wooden raised beds surrounded by gravel and the area is edged with old bricks made at Claughton Brickworks.

Willow hurdles (also seen on Love Your Garden with Alan Titchmarsh) shelter the area and there is space for a couple of compost bins.

Amazingly the hurdles have survived the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha.