The Secret Garden is planted with a mix of fruit and flowers. The boundaries are made up of espaliered apple trees, passion flowers, thornless blackberries, willow and roses.
The ‘door arbour’ has grape vines from which hang bunches of sweet black grapes in early autumn.
Hops also twine their way up the edges of the door arbour having escaped from the pergola they were meant to cover until, one day, a fig tree will provide a shady spot to sit.
This year, for the first time since it was planted, the fig tree has produced a bountiful crop of figs.
One of our followers on Instagram suggested make fig jam. Perhaps to sell to Members and friends through the site shop.
How to eat figs
As well as just eating them fresh from the tree, a simple way to enjoy figs is just to cut them into wedges and add to salads. The classic starter is to wrap them in parma ham . They’re are also delicious raw on a cheese board instead of grapes. They can be grilled or roasted which makes them even sweeter. Here are a few ideas ideas for delicious deserts that can be made with figs:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.