Secret Garden Launch and Bonfire Night

Secret Garden Launch and Bonfire Night

On Saturday allotment members and friends from the community joined us for a double celebration – the launch of our Secret Garden and Bonfire Night.

Secret Garden launch

After a year of building and planting our Secret Garden was officially launched with a tea party.  Tea and cake was available and there were craft activities for the children.

We had visitors from Groundwork, the charity that has been working with Tesco on the Bags of Help scheme that funded the Secret Garden.


Bonfire Night

As darkness fell, the Secret Garden party gave way to our Bonfire Night extravaganza!  As well as the usual fireworks, bonfire and supper the Woodcraft Folk were there to help members toast marshmallows, make damper bread and roast cinnamon apples over the fire.  And of course, the Secret Garden looked fabulous with it’s new lights.


Well done to everybody involved for all the hard work to create two events for Members, family and friends.  More photographs are available on our Facebook page.

Autumn is here

Autumn is here

Autumn is here

As the days have grown shorter, I’ve started my annual clearing of beds and harvesting squash.  It’s always rather exciting to see what has grown under the vines that, by October, have  taken over my plot.    I plant a range of squash each year, but am never sure what I will successfully grow.  There is always a surprise hidden under the trailling vines. This year it was monster butternut squash (I thought I had planted green skinned Crown Prince Squash….).

Growing pumpkins has become an enduring symbol of autumn, whether they end up as jack-o’-lanterns, made into soup or roasted with oil and seasoning.  Pumpkins and other members of the squash family not only looks good but are full of vitamins and minerals.

The secret to growing squash is to provide them with lots of moist, compost-enriched soil, and plenty of sun.

But the real joy of squash is being able to eat them.  There are thousands of recipes on the internet for how to cook squash, here is one I’m fond of from

Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges

Spicy Roasted Acorn Squash Wedges


You can see pictures of our allotment site showing it’s autumn colours on our facebook page.





Secret Garden update

Secret Garden update

Secret Garden – thanks to Jane and Damien

The main structure of the Secret Garden has now been completed!  This is mainly down to the hard work and determination of our members Jane and Damien.  They have given up many of their weekends this year to design and build our new accessible Secret Garden as well as oversee the work of their friends and family (thank you Annette, Sophie and Alice) as well our plotholders who have provided some additional help on volunteer days and our site manager Paul. You can read more about the history of the garden here and here.

Completing the door arbour

Magical Secret Garden

The garden will mature over the coming months and years as the climbers grow to enclose the space and make it more magical. At the moment I particularly enjoy the beautiful shadows that are cast in the garden by the willow tunnel, coppiced hazel fences and climbers outside the door arbour.  I’ve even enjoyed sitting and passing the time of day with fellow plotholders.

Shadows cast by the willow fence
Shadows cast by new grapevine

Volunteers needed

We will need help maintaining the garden over the years to come.  As with all work done on site, it is our plotholders and members who make Dorset Road Allotments such a safe, attractive and enjoyable allotment site.  Help that will be needed include:

  • watering the pot plants
  • weeding flower beds
  • cutting the grass.

We will also need more plants to fill out the large flower border.  If you are splitting perenniels, sowing annuals or have some spare shrubs please consider donating some plants to the garden.

If you can spare some time to help in the garden or want to donate some plants please speak to a committee member.

Tesco Bags of Help

And finally, we wouldn’t have been able to build our wonderful Secret Garden if it wasn’t for the help of our local community who voted for us in the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.  Thank you to everybody who voted.  I hope you have already visited the garden on our Open Day.  We will also be having a launch party on Sunday 27th August.  We are also open every Sunday between 10am-1pm for the local community to visit.