Lost Allotment of Heligan

Veg Patch

I’ve been down on the allotment again today with Mum – I’ve let her have a portion of it as her north-facing garden is also overlooked by next door’s rampant willow and beech trees. So not all of last year’s crops were a success for her.

Down on the allotment it’s been like a voyage of discovery, unearthing treasures from the past. We had a scrabble around the ‘top’ end, where the half-dead rasberry canes are (debatable as to whether they’ll be a goer this year) and found some irises and tulips coming up. Mum found an old pot of something turned upside down and exclaimed with delight that they were a ‘find!’. She then proceeded to bag whatever they were up (some sort of bulb) and look very pleased with herself.

It’s been like my own mini version of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. Trying to piece together the story before I arrived, finding remnants and clues. Rather than being left for 80 or 90 years, it’s probably only been a matter of months, but in allotment terms, that’s long enough. Incidentally, I’ve been wanting to get hold of a DVD of the Lost Gardens of Heligan – I find the story spooky, fascinating and inspiring. It’s all very romantic, harking back to a time that always seems to possess a sort of grandness and classiness, the likes of that’ll never be experienced again. I have a couple of Heligan books, the Heligan Vegetable Bible and The Kitchen Gardens of Heligan – two interesting and recommended reads.

Anyhow I’ve declared today that I want my allotment to be the prettiest allotment on site. If we get a shed up it’ll be painted and looked after – functional AND stylish. Mum says a good border can make a lawn – I guess the same could (partly) apply to an allotment – keep the sides neat and trim and it’ll look a heck of a lot better. I want colour, variety and companion planting, so it looks full and buzzing. It’ll do everything it needs to do – growing veg, attracting handy pollinating insects, for cutting flowers – but look damned good at the same time. Sounds more like a potager when I think about it.


  1. I also have the Heligan Vegetable Bible, and it’s my favourite bedtime reading (what a sadster). All those military-straight rows of carrots and cabbages in the walled garden make me die of shame when I compare them with my higgledy-piggledy plot. I intend to make my plot perfect every year, too.
    Good luck!!