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Tammy’s Allotment

Tammy’s Allotment

One of the great privileges of coordinating a Master Gardeners programme lies in the opportunity to visit some of our supported growers and see at first hand the joy that learning to grow brings them.  Today I am being shown around a plot full of plump cabbages, lush herbs, strawberries and leeks that are beginning to go to seed.  The plot is part of a special allotment, run by the charity Enrych, to offer suitable space for gardeners with disabilities. A wooden plaque proudly proclaims this to be ‘Tammy’s Garden.’  Tammy comes to this site with a support worker every week and, with the support of Master Gardener Fiona MacDonald, has created a highly productive and beautiful space, which clearly gives her enormous pleasure and pride.  I visited her when the two were first introduced and Tammy has been keen for me to return so that she can show me how much she has learned.


Fiona tells me, rather ruefully, that Tammy’s cabbages came as seedlings from her own garden and are far healthier and larger than her own, growing in this sunny, open position.  Gardeners always sow too many seeds and this kind of generous sharing of excess is one of the most wonderful aspects of gardening.  In learning to grow with Fiona, Tammy now shares in this generous world; today she will take leeks and herbs home to her parents to make soup and she offers a share to us too.  She is also generous with her new knowledge, instructing her support worker in how to make mint or lemon balm tea and in so doing, changes the balance between them.  In this space it is Tammy who is in charge and confident, leading the group around.

Tammy also tells us that she is  losing weight as a result of eating so much of her own fruit and veg and getting regular outdoor exercise, in addition to her clubacise classes.  Unlike many people, she enjoys weeding; indeed it is clear that she just loves being here in this space.  Today, she and Fiona plant French and runner beans in pots as well as courgettes to replace earlier sowings that withered in the heat when she was unable to come.

20170602_143508When Fiona and Tammy first began, Tammy was brought to the site by the same driver every week, but sadly this person moved on and she has missed several sessions as a result.  However, today her support worker is so impressed with her achievements and her obvious pride in and love of what she does, that she promises Tammy that they will make a special effort to ensure that she has the driver she needs to bring her every week from now on.



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