Allotments in Poland

Allotments in Poland

Whenever I go abroad I try and take in the vegetation and look at what’s growing in that particular corner of the world. My curiosity always gets the better of me and when I return home I look up the conditions as to why certain plants survive where they do.

The last time I was able to do this kind of nerdy, but this truly gratifying research was in Barbados.  This time I’m in Poland, in a the most idealistic setting you could imagine.  It’s called Lipiany. I’ve been there before, and my advice is, if you’d like to escape the rat race, truly relax – then go to Lipiany or somewhere similar and slow down.

The climate in Poland is very similar to that of the UK – the only difference is that everything is a bit more telling, for instance you get snow in the winter, sun in summer and brown leaves in the autumn as you would expect. When I was there last week – it was in the early 30’s with rain during the night so it really was a great little break away.

Lipiany is a small town, with a gigantic lake at it’s heart. It’s described as a rural-urban area and while I was there I couldn’t help but check out the local allotments and see how things are done in other parts of the world.  Allotments in Poland are called działki and are classed constitutional and a cherished part of the culture. Allotments in Poland are thought of so much because there’s over a million of them in operation.

Allotments are classed as family gardens (rather than leisure gardens here in the UK) so its not uncommon for them to actually look like a garden, rather than a plot of land used to grow fruit and veg.

One thing did I notice was the mixture of styles and the use of different materials used to construct the sheds or little houses, one of the essentials of allotment life. In Poland there’s a term called kombinować, which is untranslatable, but means ‘making do with what’s available’ or ‘finding a way around the official regulations.’  Very much like here in the UK in some parts.

There’s even a competition every year for the best or most Exemplary Plot of the Year. And when you see them, you really do get a touch of allotment envy! They really are fantastic to look at and admire.

Anyway, without delay, check out the gallery below. If you’re like me, you’ll go away with some fantastic ideas for your own plot perhaps?

Discovering the nature of Barbados…

Discovering the nature of Barbados…

You’ve probably noticed that it’s been a bit quiet on here lately and that’s because I’ve been away in sunny Barbados.  Gardening and allotmenting can be fun, rewarding and good for your health – but if there’s any advice I’d like to give you in this post, it’s to have a holiday or a break, otherwise you run the risk of shinning bright and burning out fast.

Barbados is a fantastic country for nature, vegetation, wildlife, landscape and climate. People often refer to Barbados as paradise, and they’re not wrong.  In spite of the 30 degree heat and the dry season, Barbados is a brilliantly green part of the world.

Barbados, of the most part is an island made up of limestone, meaning that combined with the lack of rainfall, the soil is very rich in calcium.  The calcium in the soil naturally binds with other organic matter to form a good level of drainage – it will also naturally encourage plants to establish strong root stocks, and thus providing such green and healthy foliage.

If you ever do a soil test (which I’m due to do at the end of the season at some point), and your soil is lacking in calcium, then you would be advised to add calcium into the ground in the form of fertilisers.

Overall, if you ever get the chance to go to Barbados – then do it!

The Landscape

 

Wildlife

I visited Barbados Wildlife Reserve in St Peters, which really is a sight to behold. The place was full of tortoises, green monkeys and deer to name but a few animals. The place is a jungle and as a result you really do feel like Indiana Jones exploring areas unknown (almost).

The Wildlife reserve is part of a mahogany tropical rainforest, and was home to all kinds of medicinal plants that were discovered during the times of Darwin. A truly fascinating place nestled in the corner of the island.

The plants

A big hello to Geri and Steve from Gemini House for being such wonderful and fantastic hosts during our stay – they also let me take these wonderful pictures of their vibrant garden.

Luckily, they have a great patch of aloe vera, which is a plant you definitely need if you’re prone to getting sun burnt very easily.  Needless to say, as a redhead, I needed a lot of aloe towards the end of the trip.

Travelling through Barbados, you’ll notice there’s palm trees and all kinds of plants, fruits and vegetables growing wild – and I think this is what makes the island’s environment so unique, in contrast to other parts of the world.