Open Vegetable Gardens Day

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Local author Anna Sugden inviting visitors to view her sweetcorn, carefully interwoven with flowering plants. You can read more about her work at

Today was a big day for local amateur gardeners and allotment owners, as they tentatively allowed visitors in to see their work, all to raise money for gardening tools for the local primary school. It’s rather like the National Gardens Scheme for people who can’t be bothered to have a perfectly manicured lawn, but care more about sustainability instead. We joined in the fun by descending on our neighbours, Anna and Keith Sugden, who have transformed their walled garden into a tribute to creative gardening, in true cottage garden style. Every bed is brimming with flowering plants carefully interspersed with edible delights, so that Anna and Keith can eat something picked from their garden every single day. We ended up making several visits, and many of Anna’s fine  fairy cakes were scoffed by the family, as I fantasised at length about introducing this philosophy to our own garden. something every keen Austerity Housekeeping fan should consider doing. My husband paled somewhat at the thought of the digging, but he’s a good sport, so I am hopeful.

We then made a visit to a hidden orchard at the other end of the village. I have passed this house most days I have lived in the area, and I had no idea that it had a two-acre orchard nestling behind it. There was a combination of fruit trees planted between the 1920s and the 1960s, and a beehive at the back, and local community orchards can borrow the owners’ apple press for a small charge each autumn. This proved to be a great inspiration to us as there is currently a drive to found our own community orchard with historic varieties of Cambridgeshire apples. Watch this space.

For keen cottage garden fans, I’m posting more pictures with key Austerity friendly features below:

Old garden chair upcycled, with a port bottle holder brought back into service as a geranium planter

Every inch of the garden is brimming with espalier fruit trees, colourful bedding plants, fruits, herbs and vegetables, all placed carefully to maximise the space.
Another neighbour made shopping bags for sale, using scraps of fabric leftover from other projects.

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