I’m Kirsty Ward or better known as My Little Allotment, 31, mother of two and a complete grow your own enthusiast. I started the My Little Allotment account just over four years ago after taking on my allotment space to better my mental health and Wellbeing. After a very difficult and traumatic pregnancy and birth with my Second daughter Mila, I unfortunately fell very ill with my mental health later diagnosed as PTSD -post traumatic stress disorder. I took my allotment on after reading about the benefits of focus therapy and the positive effect it has on PTSD. My allotment very quickly became my haven, the place I go to help my mind and ultimately the place that saved me.
Gardening is a huge part of my life now. My allotment and garden take up a lot of my free time and when I’m not doing that I spend a lot of time doing talks about the benefits of gardening for wellbeing, blogging about the allotment, browsing gardening books and getting involved in some really fun and exciting gardening campaigns and shows.
Without gardening I can safely say I don’t know where I would be on my journey with my mental health difficulties. My allotment provides me with all the benefits I need that help me function in day-to-day life. Not only has it saved me but it’s become a huge passion and hobby of mine that I absolutely love, and I know that ultimately down the line I would love to be able to work fully in horticulture.
The Amazing team over at Muck Boot kindly asked me to get involved with their Chelsea Flower show stand for 2021 and I snapped up the opportunity. Over the past several months I’ve been involved with lots of aspects of the garden, initially starting out with mood boarding some ideas for the stand, bringing in the themes of wellbeing and grow your own. The ideas were then taken forward to the design team at Save the Bees who have used lots of ideas of their own, and some ideas from my input to create a wonderful design. For me personally I wanted to make sure that the space was somewhere that brought all the ideas of a wellbeing garden together in a space where you could sit and reflect.
It was also important for me to personally to have a little area of grow your own to showcase that all gardening whether it being growing flowers or veggie growing it’s all great for our mental wellbeing. For me the stand should represent all the wonderful aspects of gardening, and how each individual part down to the sounds, textures, smells, tastes and colours are represented to show they can all have a positive influence on your wellbeing.
I won’t lie growing for the show has been really hard, across the board this year has been one of the worse growing seasons personally and I think that’s said for a lot of people too. With a very cold winter, late frosts, very little rain, then heavy rainfall, blight etc it’s been a tough year. I had a couple of my boxes planted up but lost some plants earlier in the year to disease and late frost and it’s been difficult trying to get the boxes looking green, healthy and colourful so late in the season. Normally by the end of September I am clearing beds on the allotment and soil prepping ready for next season, so with The Chelsea Flower Show being moved to September it’s been a fun but challenging experience. . . that I have absolutely loved!
To be able to grow and showcase something at Chelsea is the absolute dream so I can’t wait to show what I’ve been growing in my creates and my warty pumpkin display. Growing in the Muck boot creates has been so much fun, I will definitely be adding some creates like this around my allotment and garden. Top tips for creating a wooden create display, make sure you line the boxes with a weed membrane to help stop the soil falling out but making sure its permeable to let the water drain freely. Add a think layer of mulch to the top of the boxes after planting as this helps retain the moisture in the soil, the boxes dry out easily so make sure they are watered regularly. I’ve grown a great range of stuff in them, so they are suitable for almost anything from dahlias, beans, aubergines, chillies, herbs etc.
A HUGE thank you to the Muck Boot team for having me on board and allowing me to be part of something so special.
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