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How do I let go of my two beloved allotments?

 
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Hi there, The time is right for me to learn more about permaculture and homesteading so I decided after 7 years, not to renew my two organic allotment tennancies today. I’m so sad, but also excited to grow as a gardener and artist. BUT….How do I let go of all the plants / flowers / cats / wildlife / trees and buildings I’ve nurtured for years on my allotments? In loss there is intense loving, I know, and my allotments have inspired so much. The anticipation of abandoning them to be potentially trashed by the next plot holder(s) is heartbreaking. Alternatively a like-minded person who will continue to love and enjoy my allotments could take them over. Either way I’ll never know and I guess that’s the gamble one takes on an allotment site. Ultimately, however, the council own the land and the plants and trees I must leave behind know that I’ve done my best for them. Have any of you had to say goodbye to a beloved garden? How did you deal with it psychologically, please? I’m saving seeds and going to take as many cuttings / transplant as much as I can, of course. It’s taken a lot of guts to make this decision and my friends just don’t get it. Any thoughts you can offer will be enormously appreciated. Thank you. Gemma
 
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Hi Gemma, I feel for you. I grew up an army brat and now a trailing husband. I’ve moved more than 30 times and lived in four countries, five if you include Wales. I have said goodbye to many gardens. I have come accustom to moving on.

What works for some, doesn’t work for others. I’ve figured out what works for me. I don’t dwell on the past. I live in the now and think about the future. As you learn about permaculture and homesteading, then you’ll need lots of mental capacity and energy. So celebrate your achievements to date, that was your stepping stone to what’s to come. I’m working on a five year urban permaculture experiment. I’m building it for me with half a thought on who is going to live here next. (I don’t want to do anything too crazy and make the place unsellable, I still have to be practical.) When I started, I thought too much about who was going to take over and realised it was mental energy best used elsewhere.

As for your friends . . . That’s a tough one. Change is hard for some people. Same same is easy. Sometimes it just takes time for an idea to sink in and people to adjust to a new normal. Don’t let it hold you back. Enjoy the journey, I look forward to hearing how you get on.
 
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I had to leave a beloved garden allotment when I moved cross-country. It has been 12 years and I still miss it and remember it with a mixture of joy at the time I had there and sadness at having to leave it. So I want to affirm your emotions and loss of something into which you have invested deeply. And while you are leaving many things that you grew and nourished in those plots of ground, you are also taking with you things that it nourished and grew within you.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue gardening after my move; I do think that it would have helped if I had been able to keep my hand in. Growers need to grow and if possible, continuing to grow things in this season will be a comfort. So however you plan to shape this next phase of your life, bring along the things that have given you the most joy and satisfaction to energize you during the challenging ramp-up phase of whatever is next for you.
 
Gemma Boyd
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Edward Norton wrote:Hi Gemma, I feel for you. I grew up an army brat and now a trailing husband. I’ve moved more than 30 times and lived in four countries, five if you include Wales. I have said goodbye to many gardens. I have come accustom to moving on.

What works for some, doesn’t work for others. I’ve figured out what works for me. I don’t dwell on the past. I live in the now and think about the future. As you learn about permaculture and homesteading, then you’ll need lots of mental capacity and energy. So celebrate your achievements to date, that was your stepping stone to what’s to come. I’m working on a five year urban permaculture experiment. I’m building it for me with half a thought on who is going to live here next. (I don’t want to do anything too crazy and make the place unsellable, I still have to be practical.) When I started, I thought too much about who was going to take over and realised it was mental energy best used elsewhere.

As for your friends . . . That’s a tough one. Change is hard for some people. Same same is easy. Sometimes it just takes time for an idea to sink in and people to adjust to a new normal. Don’t let it hold you back. Enjoy the journey, I look forward to hearing how you get on.



Edward; thank you very much for this. It’s so nice to share this stuff and get some understanding in return. You’re right about focussing on the present and the future now I’ve taken the plunge. I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved as a gardener thus far and these skills can only be improved upon. Your project sounds fascinating and an exciting challenge. Good luck with it and I’d love to know more about your journey with this because I’d like to build my own place, too. As for change, I want anything but an easy life at the same time as being scared stiff! Ha ha. Will keep you posted. I’d like to give bootcamp a go, maybe, hence the big sacrifice.
 
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I'd spent nearly twenty years building memories and the garden with my late husband at my last farm. When I found a new partner, it became apparent quite soon that I would be better off if I could move somewhere the memories weren't so powerful. Logically, that made perfect sense, and we soon found a wonderful new home to renovate and cultivate together.

But putting those memories to rest was hard. Covid happened and it there were two years between buying the new place and selling the old one. Two years to fret and feel guilty and cry over every little thing I left behind. But also two years to gather the seeds from the best fruit trees and start them off in a nursery bed. I saved seed from all the vegetables I'd been growing and breeding and got new veggie beds going as soon as I could. I gathered acorns from the Welsh oak I'd brought over as a seedling and have about fifty baby oak trees growing in a nursery bed here. The terraces have been planted with apricot seedlings and left as a STUN experiment. I have cuttings of my prickly pears planted everywhere. And rosemary cuttings. The bay tree had never really grown, and it had been a wedding present. I consulted with me son and we ended up digging the entire thing up and bringing it with us. It nearly died at the end of the first summer here, but it's doing wonderfully now. We even brought the bees with us!

What I can say is that when it's finally done, you have memories that finally move to the 'old memories' box, and you can treasure them for what they are. And then you have living memories in the form of the plants you brought, and plants growing from the seeds you saved and brought with you. The letting go is weird - there's a mix of guilt and sadness and hope for the future. But afterwards it's a relief to be able to draw that line and to give yourself a chance to rest and recover, then start anew with the best of what you brought with you, trying some things the way you always did them, tweaking other ways to fit your new land and new soil, and trying out new ways and new plants. Also getting to know the new wildlife and new wild plants.

When I met the new neighbours here, the woman was a little older than me and was also a widow who had remarried. She understood perfectly what I was going through and agreed that moving to a new life and carrying on with new adventures was absolutely the right way forward. Except for one thing - her fruit trees. She'd devoted decades to raising them, and she missed them. Her new place had loads of fruit trees already planted there, but there weren't 'hers'. It was a strangely bonding experience because that's how I felt too. My new partner and I have been planting many new fruit trees, and he's adopted the job of looking after them. I've found that having plenty of new ones, and experimenting with new varieties, and also having a good supply of seedlings from my old trees has, over the course of about a year, completely removed the sting of losing the old ones. I have all those young welsh oak to plant out in a mini forest, starting next year. And when I look at them I remember both their mother and their 1000 year old grandmother. I see the apricots growing wild on the top terrace and remember buying the mother. I see the prickly pears and remember climbing down the bank to rescue the original discarded pads that we spotted while out driving, and getting stuck trying to scramble back up as I was wearing sandals with no back strap. The memories change somehow - from memories of the individual plants that were left behind, to memories of the stories behind your new ones. The stories become part of your story, as you move forward. And you watch the new plants as they start to fruit and you wonder if it's going to taste like the fruit you used to pick from the parents. It's all good - it fits you into the cycles of life and keeps you looking and moving forward and throws things into a better perspective.

It's just a bit hard on the emotions while it's all happening....
 
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I’m in the US so I’m not sure what an allotment is?
Best luck in your new adventure in life, just focus on the now and the good stuff from the Before will bubble up and bring a smile to you every now and then.
 
Gemma Boyd
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Mercy Pergande wrote:I had to leave a beloved garden allotment when I moved cross-country. It has been 12 years and I still miss it and remember it with a mixture of joy at the time I had there and sadness at having to leave it. So I want to affirm your emotions and loss of something into which you have invested deeply. And while you are leaving many things that you grew and nourished in those plots of ground, you are also taking with you things that it nourished and grew within you.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue gardening after my move; I do think that it would have helped if I had been able to keep my hand in. Growers need to grow and if possible, continuing to grow things in this season will be a comfort. So however you plan to shape this next phase of your life, bring along the things that have given you the most joy and satisfaction to energize you during the challenging ramp-up phase of whatever is next for you.



Mercy; thank you so much for getting what I’m going through. However forward-thinking I’m trying to be, it’s impossible not to grieve the loss of something that yes; I’ve put my heart and soul into. I could carry on and not give them up, of course, but I’m 47 and want to attempt to learn new skills and be of service to those who will appreciate what I have to offer. I’m sorry you weren’t able to continue gardening. You’ll forever be a gardener, though, and you could maybe tend house plants / do some vertical gardening (lots online about that), or keep an eye on whatever’s growing within your vicinity. Not the same as having a plot, I know, but still amazing and heart-warming. Best wishes, Gemma
 
Gemma Boyd
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Burra Maluca wrote:I'd spent nearly twenty years building memories and the garden with my late husband at my last farm. When I found a new partner, it became apparent quite soon that I would be better off if I could move somewhere the memories weren't so powerful. Logically, that made perfect sense, and we soon found a wonderful new home to renovate and cultivate together.

But putting those memories to rest was hard. Covid happened and it there were two years between buying the new place and selling the old one. Two years to fret and feel guilty and cry over every little thing I left behind. But also two years to gather the seeds from the best fruit trees and start them off in a nursery bed. I saved seed from all the vegetables I'd been growing and breeding and got new veggie beds going as soon as I could. I gathered acorns from the Welsh oak I'd brought over as a seedling and have about fifty baby oak trees growing in a nursery bed here. The terraces have been planted with apricot seedlings and left as a STUN experiment. I have cuttings of my prickly pears planted everywhere. And rosemary cuttings. The bay tree had never really grown, and it had been a wedding present. I consulted with me son and we ended up digging the entire thing up and bringing it with us. It nearly died at the end of the first summer here, but it's doing wonderfully now. We even brought the bees with us!

What I can say is that when it's finally done, you have memories that finally move to the 'old memories' box, and you can treasure them for what they are. And then you have living memories in the form of the plants you brought, and plants growing from the seeds you saved and brought with you. The letting go is weird - there's a mix of guilt and sadness and hope for the future. But afterwards it's a relief to be able to draw that line and to give yourself a chance to rest and recover, then start anew with the best of what you brought with you, trying some things the way you always did them, tweaking other ways to fit your new land and new soil, and trying out new ways and new plants. Also getting to know the new wildlife and new wild plants.

When I met the new neighbours here, the woman was a little older than me and was also a widow who had remarried. She understood perfectly what I was going through and agreed that moving to a new life and carrying on with new adventures was absolutely the right way forward. Except for one thing - her fruit trees. She'd devoted decades to raising them, and she missed them. Her new place had loads of fruit trees already planted there, but there weren't 'hers'. It was a strangely bonding experience because that's how I felt too. My new partner and I have been planting many new fruit trees, and he's adopted the job of looking after them. I've found that having plenty of new ones, and experimenting with new varieties, and also having a good supply of seedlings from my old trees has, over the course of about a year, completely removed the sting of losing the old ones. I have all those young welsh oak to plant out in a mini forest, starting next year. And when I look at them I remember both their mother and their 1000 year old grandmother. I see the apricots growing wild on the top terrace and remember buying the mother. I see the prickly pears and remember climbing down the bank to rescue the original discarded pads that we spotted while out driving, and getting stuck trying to scramble back up as I was wearing sandals with no back strap. The memories change somehow - from memories of the individual plants that were left behind, to memories of the stories behind your new ones. The stories become part of your story, as you move forward. And you watch the new plants as they start to fruit and you wonder if it's going to taste like the fruit you used to pick from the parents. It's all good - it fits you into the cycles of life and keeps you looking and moving forward and throws things into a better perspective.

It's just a bit hard on the emotions while it's all happening....



Dear Burra, Firstly, I’m very sorry about the loss of your husband and what a massive wrench it must have been leaving that part of your life behind. I’m very happy to read that you and your plant and tree babies are flourishing as are your new relationships. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain in beautifully profound detail the processes you went through with all of your individual species that you’ve loved and nurtured through the changes. My partner has a garden I can transfere as much of my stuff as I can to in the short term, but our lives are headed in different directions right now so who knows how things will end up. It may all end in disaster but if I don’t take this risk I know I shall live to regret it… My emotions are all over the place and I can’t sleep but I just need to take things a day, an hour at a time. Long may your joy and happiness continue, Gemma
 
Gemma Boyd
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Don Fini wrote: I’m in the US so I’m not sure what an allotment is?
Best luck in your new adventure in life, just focus on the now and the good stuff from the Before will bubble up and bring a smile to you every now and then.



Hi Don, Thank you very much for your wise words of encouragement. An allotment is a small plot of land that one rents from the council. It’s on a big site with lots of other allotments which are run by a committee. Best wishes, Gemma
 
Gemma Boyd
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Hi again all, Well I leave my allotment gardens behind in a few days and have transplanted / taken seeds and cuttings of most of my plants and trees. It’s been the most stressful thing I’ve ever been through and I hope to goodness I’ve made the right decision. I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who left me messages a few weeks ago because your words have kept me strong throughout this. Gemma
 
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Don Fini wrote:
I’m in the US so I’m not sure what an allotment is?
Best luck in your new adventure in life, just focus on the now and the good stuff from the Before will bubble up and bring a smile to you every now and then.



In the US, I believe these are what we call "Community Gardens".

I very much like Burra's post about how he handled her memories.
 
Gemma Boyd
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Anne Miller wrote:

Don Fini wrote:
I’m in the US so I’m not sure what an allotment is?
Best luck in your new adventure in life, just focus on the now and the good stuff from the Before will bubble up and bring a smile to you every now and then.



In the US, I believe these are what we call "Community Gardens".

I very much like Burra's post about how he handled her memories.



Yes, Anne. What Burra wrote was beautiful. It’s really helped. I feel such grief and guilt about moving on and leaving my plots to somebody unknown, but I’m taking the plants with me in some form so am trying to see it as us just moving home. I’ve learnt so much about saving seeds and taking cuttings, and am looking forward to working through the SKIP badges. I also bought a tent for if I ever make it to bootcamp and to spend some alone time with nature.
 
Gemma Boyd
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I officially left my two allotment gardens today after nearly 8 years. I’m proud that I saw it through at every stage of the process and took everything plant and tree wise home with me in seed / cuttings form. I’m tearful, exhausted and feel guilty for abandoning the spaces I’ve invested so much in, but I had to move on. My garden is chaotic with plants and this year’s harvest right now but I’m looking forward to going through it at my leisure. Thanks again for all your support, everyone. It’s really helped.
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381CA7F5-85D1-4FFC-B7B0-913B3B88FF62.jpeg
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Gemma, I feel for you, having to leave behind so many loved plants, even though you have seeds and cuttings to remind you of them. We too are moving soon and although I have saved seeds and propagated many plants there is a bay tree which is too big to take with us. When we bought it (for £4.50 which I thought was a good price) it was a foot high and in a pot. It graduated to larger pots and finally, when we moved to our smallholding 10 years ago, it was planted outside where it has thrived. A relative said she would give me one of her bay tree seedlings but it won't be "my" plant. I never managed to propagate any plants from it so I will sadly bid it goodbye and take a photo.
Do enjoy your new adventure and make many more plant friends.
 
Gemma Boyd
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Ara Murray wrote:Gemma, I feel for you, having to leave behind so many loved plants, even though you have seeds and cuttings to remind you of them. We too are moving soon and although I have saved seeds and propagated many plants there is a bay tree which is too big to take with us. When we bought it (for £4.50 which I thought was a good price) it was a foot high and in a pot. It graduated to larger pots and finally, when we moved to our smallholding 10 years ago, it was planted outside where it has thrived. A relative said she would give me one of her bay tree seedlings but it won't be "my" plant. I never managed to propagate any plants from it so I will sadly bid it goodbye and take a photo.
Do enjoy your new adventure and make many more plant friends.



Dear Ara, Many thanks for understanding what I’m going through. It’s probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever been through! I’ve ‘moved home’ with all but one of the species, but whether they survive is another story. We can only try our best! I’m so sorry about your bay tree. It must be very upsetting to have to say goodbye. Let’s just hope that both of our beloved gardens get some caring new owners. If not, we must remember how resilient nature is and that it finds a way to reassert itself in the face of all human intervention. Just take a branch of the bay at the last minute and try propagating it in water. What have you got to lose? Thanks also for your good wishes. I’d like to grow as an organic gardener and person. We’ll see… All the best and good luck with the move, Gemma
 
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Gemma, I am glad I looked on Permies before I packed my laptop away as we are moving tomorrow. I never thought of taking a branch from the tree although I have taken a photo and have said goodbye. We will be homeless until our purchase completes so I hope our son doesn't mind a bay tree cutting camping in his living room along with his parents.
With all best wishes, Ara.
 
Gemma Boyd
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Ara Murray wrote:Gemma, I am glad I looked on Permies before I packed my laptop away as we are moving tomorrow. I never thought of taking a branch from the tree although I have taken a photo and have said goodbye. We will be homeless until our purchase completes so I hope our son doesn't mind a bay tree cutting camping in his living room along with his parents.
With all best wishes, Ara.



I’m so glad you saw my message. I don’t know much about bay trees, but as well as the ‘branch’ cutting, try taking some tender foliage and try rooting that. Check out YouTube regarding how to propagate bay trees, too. You’ll be amazed at the great information that’s out there, or ask other permies of course. I hope you manage to take it with you. All the best, Gemma
 
Gemma Boyd
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Update: I left my allotments a month ago yesterday and am really happy that I’ve been able to keep alive all of the species I brought home with me - which is just as well because I heard one of my allotments has been completely destroyed (rose garden, fruit bushes, grape vine, herbs, tree, wildlife shelter and outbuilding included) by the new owner. Silly me, I thought I’d be leaving someone a real gift. Why would someone do that? Just take on a plot with nothing on it.
 
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Work/trade opportunity in the beautiful sanda cruz mountains of california
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