Allotment Society News 2006

Newsletter - Winter 2006

Another “funny” year comes to an end. In August we were bemoaning the dry weather and the reduction in crop yields. Beans were not setting and autumn raspberry canes were looking like dry sticks. Then came the September rain and plants returned to life with some good late crops. Raspberries had a second flush of growth and we were picking right up to the frosts of early November.

Top points in our autumn competition went to those who had established the best over-wintering crops (spring greens etc.) to cover the lean period in early spring.

1st Ted Killick
2nd Geoff Faulkner
3rd Mrs Kendrick

On aggregate points over the year this gave us, as Allotment Gardener of the Year

1st Geoff Faulkner
2nd Ted Killick
3rd Peter Topliss

We will have held our annual Social Evening and Prize Giving, with Mrs Toon’s famous buffet, at the end of November in Rolleston Club. We are grateful to the Club for continuing to allow us use their premises for our meetings and events. The prizes should be presented by the Rector, anxious to promote his green credentials – he’s slowly becoming a horticulturalist in the best tradition of country parsons!

Interest in renting a plot on our site remains high and we have a strong waiting list from applicants both within and outside the village.

The resurgence of allotment gardening has been noted by the Borough Council who are promoting and renovating their sites throughout the district. As an independent society, renting land, we are proud of the fact that we maintain our site through our own volunteer efforts and have a continuous history of full occupancy. 

We are told that the “Borough in Bloom” awards, next year, will be extended to include entries from individual allotment plot holders. There will also be an inter-site competition for the “Byerley Cup” an old cup formerly used by the East Staffs Allotment Association. We hope to rise to the challenge!

Newsletter - Autumn 2006

The hot summer weather has shown just how variable the soil and micro-climate can be across our small site. Conditions clearly vary from the more exposed and heavy ground nearest the cemetery to the more sheltered deep fertile soil close to the old stables/cow shed of the Mosley estate.

Germination of root crops, especially parsnips, has been very variable and heat and dryness has reduced yields of crops such as runner beans and raspberries.

These tribulations have not prevented the site from looking very fertile and there was a high standard of plots for the summer competition in July –

Best Plot 1st Geoff Faulkner
2nd Mrs Kendrick
3rd Peter Topliss

Best Half-plot Peter Longbottom

Best Crop of Vegetables, not on winning plot
Mrs Strange, for root crops

Best Bed of Flowers
Mrs Shaw for dahlias

We still have a number of contenders for plot-holder of the year. All will be revealed at our November Social Evening after the autumn competition.

Newsletter - Summer 2006

2006 has seen a very late start to the season with cold, wet ground into April (in contrast to the drought conditions in the south of the country).

By the time of the spring competition (22nd April) cultivation was well underway but apart from a few early starters and with growth 2 – 3 weeks late, there was not a lot showing above ground. There was little to separate the four leaders so there is all to play for during the year.

1st Ted Killick 54pts
2nd Tom Martin 53
3rd Peter Topliss 52
4th Geoff Faulkner 51

Rolleston’s Very Own “Gladdie”

Readers will be well aware of Graham Anderson’s prowess as a national champion gladiolus exhibitor and breeder. We have reported before that he named one of his seedlings “Dame Edna” with full endorsement from Barrie Humphries and with any proceeds from plant breeder rights going to a charity.

In 2000 our Vice-Chairman, Mrs Janet Stone, took particular note of a new seedling on Graham’s allotment plot, on the day that it opened. Graham quietly noted this and grew it on. This year, he has registered it in the USA as the variety “Janet Stone”. 

Appropriately, for Janet, Graham describes it as a good flower arranger’s variety, lavender with blushing pink splotches! It was certainly good enough to win Graham the prize for best vase of gladioli at last year’s Harrogate Show.

Newsletter - Spring 2006

Early November saw our usual informal site competition. The winners were those who had prepared for a hard winter with sufficient stock to share between both home and the local wild life!

1st Jeff Faulkner
2nd Ted Killick
3rd Peter Topliss
4th Mrs Kendrick

This meant that on an aggregate score, over the seasons, Jeff Faulkner was declared our “Allotment Gardener of the Year”.

Late November saw us celebrate the successes (and whinge about the failures) of 2005 at our Annual Social Evening in Rolleston Club. A capacity attendance devoured Mrs Toon’s famous buffet (the Secretary has to organise the event around her availability) and watched Jeff walk off with most of the prize money! 

Two of our flower growers, Mrs Janet Stone (mixture) and Graham Anderson (gladioli) sell their surplus produce for charity and between them donated £600 to Staffordshire Air Ambulance this year. They would like to record their appreciation for village support.

The year end saw little movement in membership with two old members re-taking plots after absences for personal reasons and two other plots being taken yet again by ladies (although they always appear dragging a man with a spade). We still have a short waiting list and now is the time to get your name down if you are thinking of joining us in the next 1 – 2 years.

The water men are forecasting severe shortages in the south-east this summer but Severn Trent say that local reservoirs are at near capacity. Certainly, the ground was very wet late autumn but February digging conditions are as good as they have been for several years. Most plot holders are getting a good and early start to the season. With the changing weather pattern we will have to watch out for any recurrence of the late frosts that set the early birds back last year.

Tom Martin

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Last updated: 9 December 2006