Sunday, June 14, 2009

Should Allotments have rules about flowers?

What's wrong with an allotment plot full of flowers? As long as you look after your allotment, shouldn't it be yours to do what you please with (link via I think it's absolute madness that Chris Smallbone - Dig My Plot - has been given a Notice to Quit by his allotment council officer, supported by his allotment society because he filled his plot with flowers! I wonder what those of you who have an allotment, think of this judgment? Do you think it's wrong to have an allotment full of flowers? Do you have to follow strict rules about what you can and can't grow on your allotment?


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with you on this!
    I'll make a fuller comment later on after I've checked the rules for my own plot, and had time to calm down! xx

    Meantime you may like to read what other allotmenteers think about it here,52621.msg533936/topicseen.html#new

  2. Insane! I don't own an allotment but my father-in-law does and he grows all kinds of things but I dont thing he grows flowers. At the allotments he has a community and cliques and enough stuff to make an entertaining (an eccentric as always) British sit com. This sounds like one of the episodes.

    If the rules on joining state that allotments arent to be used for flowers, then thats fair, but otherwise this seems crazy, especially for such a garden-happy nation! Poor Chris Smallbone!

  3. Flighty, I'm glad you agree with my view. I was pretty sure you would. It will be interesting to hear about the rules for your own plot.

    And thanks for the link to the forum.

  4. Michelloui, I think Chris Smallbone should be able to contest this ruling - unless, like you say, that the rules for his allotment specify no flowers. It's ridiculous though to think people can't grow what they want to on their own allotment!

  5. Harrow Council's general conditions under which the allotment gardens are to be cultivated start with...The tenant shall keep the allotment garden clean, in a good state of cultivation and fertility and in good condition.
    There are another 14 conditions of which just one relates to what can or can't be grown...the tenant shall not plant any trees with the exception of espaliers, cordons or fans on dwarfing stock.

    Official expection was, and still is, that an allotment should be used for mainly growing vegetables and fruit but clearly councils vary in their rules as to allotment gardens.

    I feel that providing an allotment is being used properly then what is grown, and how, is down to the plotholder. Above all commonsense has to be used by all concerned.

    There are, of course, two sides to this story but I'm sure that in this case officialdom is being heavy-handed. I hope that he pursues the matter as it's an important issue for all allotmenteers.

  6. There's some points of interest, including the growing of flowers, in this parliamentary report from 1998 on allotments

  7. Thanks for all the info, Flighty! Much appreciated.

    And I agree that this case of officialdom is being heavy-handed as you say.

    I noticed Chris Smallbone left a comment to the Guardian article to thank everyone for their support and to explain his gardening style/philisophy regarding his allotment. He mentions that the plot was a meadow of horsetail and that:

    "Through sheer hard work and no chemicals I have sought to grow where no one has grown before How ironic that I have been served a Non Cultivation Order on this plot, which I have actually got back into cultivation.

    Unfortunately my efforts are not recognized by The Committee or the Councils Allotment Officer, even though the members of the committee have watched me work so hard in tackling the problem without chemicals."

  8. I think its goes back in time to when allotments were allocated to people without gardens to grow their own vegetables because they could not afford to buy them.

    Then during the war, food was absolutely essential and flowers that were not edible were just not grown on allotments.

    A few flowers were always tolerated, as nasturtiums, marigolds and a few others act like and insecteside.

    There are always two sides to every story.

    mrs K

  9. Mrs K, I agree it made sense to be strict about allotments being used to grow vegetables during the war when food was rationed, however, in this day and age I think rules about what is grown on allotments shouldn't be so strictly enforced.

  10. It's a sad day when growing flowers is objected to though isn't it?