February 22nd 2016. I am standing in a middle of a plot at the end of a row of allotments, at the junction of Bepton Road and Pitsham Lane, kicking at a clod of soil with the toe of my wellington. “So, would you like it?” offers the voice at the other end of my mobile-call. And that’s that.
I gaze around the plot, still slightly struggling to digest what has just happened. Roughly 15 large paces by 12, with grass paths between three
rectangular beds, and two narrower long borders along the side fences at right angles to the gate, it is compact, but appears to my biased eye perfectly proportioned. The upright shed in the corner may need a new roof at the very least, and there is a slightly daunting looking mound and rubbish corner which will need attention, but I avoid looking too closely at that for the moment. I bend to pick up a piece of soil and rub it thoughtfully through my fingers.
I have an allotment. The phrase repeats itself in my head to the tune of the robin’s song as I turn for home, the grin on my face growing ever wide as I stroll up the grass path between the neighbouring plots, latch the wooden gate at the top behind me and take one last glance over my shoulder.
The first bird I saw when I stepped onto the patch was a wren, also known as a ‘Cutty’ in the Old Sussex Dialect. The thrilling song of these diminutive birds fills the air as I work, particularly in early mornings and as the afternoon sighs towards evening. In honour of this numerous and delightful resident of the patch, (and as a slight play on words with regards to my plan to cultivate a cut flower garden) I felt the patch ought to become known as ‘The Cutty Garden’.
I grow a mixture of cut flowers and edibles, and endeavour to cultivate with organic and wildlife friendly methods.
Please also visit my Cutty Garden Allotment Facebook page.