Allotment Ambitions – Karen Bocking

by | Oct 15, 2021 | Community, Keepsake, Nature and Walks, Wellbeing

I got my allotment in 2008. I live in a flat and this was the first time in my life that I did not have a garden, no matter how small. It was a full-size allotment covered with brambles. In the past, it had been rotavated and this spread the brambles from one end to completely spread over the whole allotment. The allotment had been left for a year until I came along and decided to take it on. The brambles were my height, 5ft, and there were no pathways to be seen. Over the years I managed to clear the brambles but life, and death, happens and my mum died in 2010. I helped my dad clear the family home and I inherited several fruit trees from the family garden which I planted on the allotment. My dad wasn’t getting any younger so I care for him, he is 88 now and needs more of my time.

However, over the last few years, I have become depressed about the allotment as I am in my 60s and it was getting too much for me on my own. I had the idea of giving up half of it but I couldn’t decide which half was the cause of my anxiety to be added to my depression. So I was seriously thinking about giving up all of my allotment. Then, one of the volunteers at The Shoebox asked if I would like some help with the allotment. I said you had better have a look at it first, you might change your mind! But he didn’t. 

I have decided not to give up the allotment now. I visualise that the allotment will be not just for my own wellbeing mentally and physically but others wellbeing too. A community allotment!

At first, I was worried that the change to a community allotment would incur more expenses (for things like insurance) but Tom at The Shoebox reassured me that they would support the community to enjoy the allotment safely.

Now I have become a happy allotment warrior instead of a depressed allotment worrier. I would like to keep the allotment conservation-friendly by not using any weed killer and planting lots of herbs and flowers for the bees and butterflies. 

The allotment is off Wall Road, near Sprowston Road. Any help is appreciated whether it is an hour or joining us once a week. Get in touch with The Shoebox if you would like to help. 

Helpers can simply bring gardening gloves, wear suitable footwear and dress for the weather as we plan to keep going through the winter months. Unfortunately, I don’t have a shed on the allotment to store tools so please bring your own gardening tools.

Would you like to contribute to the next edition of Keepsake?

We welcome your suggestions and contributions for the magazine so please email us at or write to:
The Shoebox, 21-23 Castle Meadow, Norwich, NR1 3DH.

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