Seasonal celebration, or why allotments are like campaigns…

Upon overhearing a conversation between a group of allotment holders, one could be forgiven for arriving at the conclusion that their glasses are perennially half-empty. Their morose observations make Eeyore seem cheerful and carefree. Winter is either too long, or too short; too mild or too cold. Spring? Well, if it’s not too wet then it’s too dry. And, please, don’t get me started on summer. Today the sun might be shining, but tomorrow? Tomorrow is guaranteed to herald some sort of calamity.

I love it!

I’ve been a professional optimist for much of my career. For people who choose to do what I do it’s a way of life. So, the cathartic feeling of being given free rein to moan about stuff is a wonderful and blessed release!

Having become an allotment holder in 2011, the passing of the seasons is no longer simply an indication of the fact that I am getting older. I have become fascinated with the observation of the subtle changes that take place daily. I say fascinated, others might say obsessed.

What I have also come to learn over the years is that our misery is a carefully worn mask. If we gardeners (it’s my 8th season, I can call myself a gardener now) really believed the things we say, why would we bother? In fact, we’re the epitome of eternal optimism. It’s just that we hide it well.

Spring is the season when our fount of optimism is at its zenith. It’s the moment in time when the vitality and energy of everything around us, be it flora or fauna, is fixed in full-throttle thrusting mode. It’s natures’ annual campaign launch. Look at me, woohoo!

And like all campaigns there’s a big picture to see and there are details not to be missed. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end and different strategies to adopt on the journey. And like all plans, things will go awry, and action will need to be taken to find a remedy.

On which note, ye daunt me not, oh fickle-hearted weather bringing frost in June! Nor ye, slugs, snails, mice, rats, squirrels, pigeons, weevils, sawflies, whiteflies and other assorted munchers of my produce. With fork in left hand and hoe in right, let this years’ battle commence!

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