National Allotments Week

Monday marks the start of National Allotments Week, running from 14th-20th August 2017. So why not use the week as the perfect excuse to give your patch or garden some extra or overdue attention? And even if you’re looking to start turning your fingers green for the first time, you can apply for an allotment at the Hampshire County Council website.

Whatever your situation or preference, it’s never been easier to get advice and information. Hampshire is a hive of allotment activity, and our libraries have the stock and services to match.

The Patch : the Big Allotment Challenge / Tessa Evelegh ; photography by Jonathan Buckley. Accompany a BBC2 series, ‘The Patch’ celebrates our burgeoning interest in knowing where our food comes from and is a practical guide to making your garden a haven of productivity. With essential know-how on everything from soil and compost to pruning and pests, the book is aimed at novice gardeners.

The Half-Hour Allotment: Timely Tips for the Most Productive Plot Ever / Lia Leendertz.                   Intended for gardeners who want to enjoy the benefits of growing their own food, but who have little time to spare, this handbook features advice and techniques that show you how to grow the right quantities of the fruit and vegetables you love.

Alternatively you can download all the assistance you need with our e-books at home, from the garden or from the allotment itself.

The Allotment Chef: Home-grown Recipes and Seasonal Stories by Paul Merrett Michelin-starred chef and star of BBC 2’s Economy Gastronomy Paul Merrett is using the plot…This is the story of how one man swaps his shopping trolley for a wheelbarrow and cooks up fine, homely food as a result.

Of course once the hard work is all done you’ll if course be rewarded with beautiful fresh produce, so select from our choice of cookery books. Growing your own fresh fruit and vegetable products is the perfect inspiration for trying #MeatFreeMonday, contributing towards the reduction of your meal’s carbon footprint, saving money and providing a healthy option to start each new week.

The great allotment cookbook : over 200 delicious recipes from plot to plate                           Celebrate your home-grown fruit and vegetables with this inspirational collection of seasonal recipes.

If being left to your own efforts is not working out, team up socialise and compare at our libraries’ gardening events , including the fortnightly ‘Sow and Grow’ at Stubbington Library and ‘Garden Design For Wellbeing’ at Waterlooville Library. Keep an eye on the Hampshire Libraries Events page for updates throughout the growing seasons!

For those new to the past-time, remember your local library service for tips to get started and in the meantime get an application for allotment space. Be inspired to turn your garden into a food factory ready for next year’s growing season!

The Savage Garden by Mark Mills

About the book

Behind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Its grottoes, pagan statues and classical inscriptions seem to have a secret life of their own – and a secret message, too, for those with eyes to read it.

Young scholar Adam Strickland is just such a person. Arriving in 1958, he finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous place, and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away which Adam finds himself compelled to investigate.

Before this mysterious and beautiful summer ends, Adam will uncover two stories of love, revenge and murder, separated by 400 years… but is another tragedy about to be added to the villa’s cursed past?


Reviewed by Enjoying Books

“An interesting Story – set in Italy with some twists and turns with classical references. A holiday read possibly – a different crime novel which interested most of the group”

star rating ***

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Notes from an Italian Terrace by Joan Marble

About the book

Thirty years ago, Joan Marble and her sculptor husband Robert Cook bought a piece of unpromising land in Lazio, the area north of Rome that was home to the ancient Etruscans. They built a house and, more importantly, grew a wonderful garden. All was not plain sailing, however, as they encountered a certain blank incomprehension from the local inhabitants. ‘Why do you want to have a garden here?’ they were asked. ‘There’s no water, the ground is all stones, it’s too cold in winter and too hot in summer, it never rains, it rains too much, the roads are impassable, the ravines are bottomless…’ But Joan and Robert’s enthusiasm for the land, their ignorance of the obstacles that faced them, their downright obstinacy, the unexpected friends who helped them, all served to conquer the intransigent landscape. Inspirational, aspirational, enchanting – this is an account of a passion for a place and an obsession with a garden that will charm and delight all who read it.

Reviewed by Titchfield Reading Group:

We all enjoyed the author’s descriptions of Rome and its inhabitants and their way of life. Lots of humour here. Some of us thought this more interesting than the gardening aspect of the book. Very easy reading. Excellent as a holiday book.

Star rating: ***

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