Old Royal Naval College Allotments

I feel very smug. I couldn’t have dreamed that my call a couple of weeks ago, for more allotments to be made available to local gardeners, would be heard by ears in such high quarters…

The Old Royal Naval College most kindly rotovated four new plots yesterday, as you can see from the photos, for what must surely be the world’s poshest allotments – and the most sought after kitchen gardens in Greenwich.

Of course they won’t come without strings. As they are on a World Heritage Site, these plots will have to be worked within strict guidelines. The theme will be “Kitchen Gardening Through The Ages” and each plot will reflect a different age, growing only crops used in a particular period.

The first, A Tudor Sallat, will recall the days of Good King Hal, and his daughter, Good Queen Bess, with a selection of heritage-variety vegetables and fruit. The lucky allotment holder will also be allowed to keep a Heritage Breed hog. He or she will, of course, be expected to wear breeches, codpiece and/or a farthingale when gardening.

The second plot, The Pensioner’s Supper, will include the kind of crops grown in their particular age, including a row or two of hops for the brewery. A delightful plot, they will be wearing full pensioner costume when working the plot during public visiting hours.

The third, and probably most splendid, is to be The Victorian Kitchen Garden – a magnificent array of unusual vegetables, fruit and flowers, often lost to today’s plate. Cardoons, anyone? Victorian garb required.

Lastly, the Dig For Victory garden will reflect a life of austerity during WWII. The plot will include the entire allotment’s only permitted shed, an original Andersen Shelter.

Gardeners will be expected to conduct educational tours every five minutes to groups of bored schoolchildren.

Demand will clearly be fierce for these four plots and the fairest way to decide which local gardener gets to hold them will be a competition. Apply in writing, in the style of the era you wish to work. The longest and most authentic letter (you can include engravings of yourself in costume if you wish) will be chosen for each allotment. Please bear in mind that the plots will be temporarily taken over each winter for the annual Ice Rink, so the growing of overwintering onions, leeks and cabbages will be curtailed.

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