When I tell people, that I have an allotment. Other than almost killing the conversation, the response is usually a scoff and a spot of “what you? Thought that was all about old men.”
Newflash. Think again.
I’ve had the plot now for three years, I was container gardening two years prior to that. And I am certainly not an old man. I’m thirty years of age, and a woman. You do not get to call me old.
I’m not the only girl on our site, it’s actually fairly equal. But I do wonder how many there are across the country. Plus, like many other parts of the society around us. Maybe gardening is no longer a blokey bastion, with cloak and dagger shed conversations. Times are a changing.
It might historically have been a bloke’s playground, on the ground as it were. And even on the box, all the gardeners, with the exception of Charlie Dimmock and Carol Klien, have been establishment gentlemen. I’m quite glad, that television personality Fern Briton has been involved with the Big Allotment Challenge, and the contestants have been fairly representative. Allotmenteering has had something of a renaissance. More and more women are getting allotment plots. Women, of all ages, from all walks of life. The allotment, is not longer the strong hold of aged men. It is no longer, a closed shop.
I like my allotment. I dislike going to the Gym. I’m not anti-Gym, it’s just not for me. I don’t dislike the idea of getting worked up and sweaty with kettle bells. The same happens when you trundle up and down a plot with a wheelbarrow. Pottering around, can give the same opportunity to be mobile and raise your heart rate for that recommended 30 minutes twice a week. The plot is hard work, it requires commitment and determination. There is exercise to be hand. Trust me, there is something of a calming effect to be experienced when walking up and down passed your roses and gladioli. It even involves braining slugs and snails, but one is not some weak willed maiden, going all knock kneed. If a slug or snail wishes to take me, then it is going to have a duel on it’s antennae.
Allotmenteering is an alternative learning experience. You become aware of success and of failure. You acquire alternative knowledge and understanding. You gain, an alternative perspective.
It is more definitely not for those who are likely to give up, or for the figuratively faint hearted maiden. It is however, for everyone. I know that some allotment sites can be cliquey, political mindfields of gerberas and gladioli. But that is not something to be focused on.
I am proud to be a young-ish woman, who has allotmenteering as a hobby. It is something that I enjoy, that I am passionate about and like to share with other like minded people. I do believe that it is for everyone, that gender, colour and creed, are of no consequence. A spade will not worry about who is using it. Allotmenteering doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone, and it is a beyond the norm hobby. But I like it. And I plan to continue with it, for as long as I possibly can.