About me

My name is Zoe and I’m a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I mainly design books for academic publishers, but in my spare time I like to garden, mess about on my allotment, and then illustrate my adventures in a journal. My garden prints are a collaboration of all of those passions. They’re initially drawn by hand and then digitised, coloured, and printed with long-life inks on archive quality paper.

As for my allotment, my partner and I took this on in late April 2008, after moving to the city of Ely (north of Cambridge, UK) shortly before. I’d previously grown a few vegetables in pots in the garden (mainly tomatoes and lettuce) and then I acquired a couple of meter square wooden frames which I used as raised beds, cramming in as much as possible on the square foot gardening principle. But I always wanted to grow much more than I had the space for and had long thought about taking on an allotment.

I’ve always gardened organically, as I firmly believe in working with nature and not against it. As gardeners we should protect and nurture the finely balanced ecosystem that exists in our patch of earth, be it large or small, and not destroy it. Gardening should be an enjoyable, even spiritual experience, not a war. I see gardens and allotments as growing, living, natural places, which means they’re not meant to be pristine and perfect (at least mine won’t be!). One thing I’ve learnt is, you can take a certain amount of control, but no matter how hard you plan, mother nature will always have the upper hand.

The blog postings document our trials and errors in growing fruit and vegetables, pretty much since we started. Feel free to comment and pass on any queries or indeed advice! Compared to some, I’m still just a beginner when it comes to allotmenteering, but I’ll get there one day.

22 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your photos of the allotment and, of course, your dog. They look great. You are working hard but you will reap the benefits. Beautiful day here so off to play catch up in my plot!

    Like

  2. Hi,

    I am so jealous of your alotment. I live in Portugal, near the sea and growing veg has presented quite a challenge. My original little
    veggie plot has now been over run with roots from the hedge and trees. :(. I am now dabbling in container gardening and have persuaded mr Piglet to build me some raised veggie beds in Jan.

    All the best
    pigletinportugal

    Like

  3. Hello, just about to start my wonderful allotment adventure and am full of excitement and trepidation in equal measure. We have been weeding and digging over since August last year and I am in the process of sowing seeds indoors, bidding for a shed & wheelbarrow on a well known auction site and planning the plot. Yours really is a plot to aspire to and you have a fantastic website to boot – i have looked at scores seeking inspiration and think yours is the one I will keep coming back to. Lets hope I can stick with it
    Wish me luck
    Fran, Hertford

    Like

    • Fran,
      Thankyou so much for your kind message. It really inspires me to keep going with my blog knowing that people are reading and enjoying it. Welcome to allotment life, it’s hard work, but so rewarding. Best of luck with your plot, do let me know how you get on. I’m no expert, but I’ve learnt a lot through trial and error over the last few years, so get in touch if you have any problems.
      Happy growing! Zoe

      Like

  4. I have just discovered your blog, via World Organic News, I just love it! I read through a few of your post already and will be back to read more. Very inspiring and lovely photos too.
    Kind regards
    Agnes

    Like

  5. Hi Zoe,

    I hope you’re enjoying the spring weather and getting plenty done on your plot or in the garden.

    I’m writing to ask for some of your horticultural savvy – what’s your best gardening tip?

    Here at Thompson & Morgan, we’re putting together a collection of gardening tips for beginners and experienced gardeners alike, and your input would be really helpful.

    If it’s knowledge that’s been handed down from your grandpa, that’s great. If it’s something you’ve learned yourself the hard way, that’s brilliant too – we’d like to include new and old advice, along with traditional and unusual wisdom.

    Of course, every tip that we include will be credited and linked back to the person that provided it.

    I very much look forward to reading your reply – and if you have any questions, just ask away.

    I look forward to your reply – and we can’t wait to read about what makes your garden tick!

    All the very best,

    Ola
    Thompson & Morgan blog team

    Like

    • Hi Ola, thanks for getting in touch. It’s difficult to say what my best gardening tip would be, I have lots! I think that’s what my next posting will feature.

      I’d say the main thing I’ve learnt both on my allotment and in my garden is that encouraging wildlife into the garden and allowing the natural ecosystem to do it’s thing makes all the difference. If you use pesticides it can disrupt that whole system very quickly. The beneficial wildlife won’t come to your patch because there’s nothing for them to eat, and then when the pests inevitably return, you have a worse problem. Just accept that you might lose the odd plant or get a few nibbled, it’s not the end of the world. But if we destroy our bees, it may soon be!

      Like

  6. Hi Zoe,

    I hope this finds you well. I wrote to you recently to ask if you’d be kind enough to share your favourite gardening tips, and just wanted to send on a little reminder.

    We’re hoping to have the best collection of gardening advice around, and we’d love for you to be a (fully credited) part of it.

    Please do drop me a line in reply, and help Thompson & Morgan help other gardeners grow.

    All the very best,

    Ola
    Thompson & Morgan blog team

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s