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Crocuses and daffs have been spotted. Nice to see a few signs of Spring. 

Hi everyone so glad to see so many of you with your encouraging responses to my little speech at the A.G.M. I am not really comfortable standing up and putting my points across, but I had a lot of positive reaction. So thanks. M.B.










Email Michael.botting@aol.co.uk






We can`t pretend anymore, our everlasting summer and lovely autumn will soon be over.

Winter will be sneaking up the garden path and will knock it`s frosty fingers on our door.

Still we can grow a few things on our plots if you would like to see things sprouting throughout the winter.

Brussell sprouts should be just right for Christmas, and you can sow broad beans and plant winter onions and garlic now. If winters here can spring be far away?






























 Where can you find peace in this busy world ?

Just by walking through the Vale road gate  

Where a whole new way of life is unfurled 

Come and join the gang it's not too late 

Gardeners are very friendly and you will see,

How lovely it is to plant and sow

And any worries and fears could be set free,

By tinkering with your spade and hoe 

So do come along and don't be shy 

Tending your plot will find you pleasure

Then peace and contentment won't pass you by.

And your garden you will always treasure




email Michael.botting@aol.co.uk



A.G.M. 2017

John Gill (treasurer), Jagger (site Safety) and Marie Innes (Secretary) have resigned. Many thanks them and to our new volunteers, Dave Pidgeon (returning), Richard Hackett, Tom Buck, Kevin Laue and Eva Hall who have all bravely stepped up to help.

Vikki Lewis is our  new Treasurer and Marie's secretary duties will be shared by Richard and David.











ANY PHOTOS OR NEWS PLEASE SEND TO       michael.botting@aol.co.uk




email michael.botting@aol.co.uk with news or contributions. Or use the blog page         







I've been connected to Vale road Allotments since the 60's and have many memories of different characters past and the present day. I generally get on with most people over here but have fallen out with a few as well, but not too many over the years. It's only natural I have stories about the old-uns and they have stuck in my memory. So forgive me if you have heard them before.

     If you heard a noise that sounded like an aeroplane landing that would be Percy Frost head gardener at the old St Francis hospital, ( now converted into flats ). Percy was very deaf and couldn't hear his old mini traveller over revving as he drove through the gates. Percy would give advice to all and sundry and you could hear him 400 yards away. He was attracted like a bee to honey to the ladies and would offer tips from his wealth of gardening experience.

     Alf would arrive on his motorbike with a lighted cigarette stuck firmly in his lips. I never knew quite how he managed that. Alf always wore thick overalls even on the hottest day he reckoned wearing lots of clothes kept you cooler in the glaring sun, and would be grafting away in them when everyone else would be stripped to the waist, ( not the ladies though unfortunately ).

     Arthur Keen was a very quiet man and would only speak when he was spoken to. Nothing wrong with that if you just want to get on with it. He diligently worked his ten rod plot and won many prizes at the local Horticultural shows with his fruit, flowers and veg. I always remember when Arthur was ill his plot got a bit out of hand someone from the committee was asked to give him a few tips on gardening ! ! !  The mind boggles. ! ! !

     Mr Short, father of Ray Short, who has the same plot here brought his cat along that walked beside him and it would lie quietly by his side when he reached his patch, until it was time to go home. 
     Angelo has a plot near the top gate and I admire him because he has recovered from a heart attack and a stroke and got back on his allotment and doing it very well. A lesson for us all I think. Another friend of his Pierro consistently wins prizes for his plot. Pierro likes to grow grapes and other unusual plants.

     I tend to remember the plot holders around the vicinity of my plot, so apologies to the top half. Rob Forster has been here for a very long time and now 80 odd but still as strong as an ox, and works his plot well, as does Salvatore next to him. Salvatore has been known to dig is plot over in just a day, using a lethal looking pronged tool that I think must have originated from his native Scilly.
     Stuart and Dru are always growing good stuff, as does Tim. Mick Jewell is another who overcame a serious op and got back onto his plot with determination. Colin has green fingers as well, always willing to donate some of his produce to others.

      There are so many dedicated gardeners over here I would like to mention them all but would make this article very long. I mustn't forget the younger ones though that have really made a difference. Among them Eva, Marie, Adam, and Nina and Geoff to name a few. The perception that allotments are just for old men in sack cloths muttering away to themselves is long gone thank goodness.

     Let's hope we don't get a deluge of rain all the winter as we did last year. Happy gardening.
Mick Botting.

Any contributions email  michael.botting@aol.co.uk




It's so nice to see the sun again
The wet and stormy days were a pain

Our plots have looked quite neglected
But it's only to be expected

Now the weather maybe changing
Our plots will soon look amazing

Beware though March can be very fickle
Sowing now could put you in a pickle

Jack Frost could rear it's ugly head
And devastate your potato bed

So though it may be warm and sunny
To lose your crops is not so funny

Dig and weed this time of year
April and May will soon appear.





Vale road allotments will never be the same,

With this blooming rain, rain, rain.

The wettest summer for a hundred years,

Enough to reduce us all to tears.

Yet back in March we had a drought,

A peculiar year without a doubt.

Things went missing from our sheds,

And stuff taken from our veggie beds.

The gates were locked that`s all we could do,

To stop Tom, Dick, and Harry from walking through.

What sadness we have in our world today,

When folk will rob you come what may.

Not all doom and gloom though I might say,

Some veggies were not washed away,

Parsnips were good they liked the rain,

And sprouts and swedes were good again.

We had a picnic and drank wine in the sun,

Let`s have more folk next year it was fun.


Pray for fine weather in our new year,

But there is one thing we should fear,


Next year we could grow rice and watercress,

As Susan already did suggest.

But we`ll get fine weather some day I`m sure,

A happy new year we can`t ask for more.






Gardening is a creative process which helps mentally, emotionally and socially so get your hand dirty by getting into the garden. Home grown food has never been more popular and with good reason. Working an allotment can give you hours of gentle exercise, and your veg and fruit will always be fresher and tastier than anything you can buy.

A garden clears a private  space in your head where you can retreat. It isn't about complicated techniques or aspiring to what you see in magazines. It doesn't have to be perfect.


Message from allotment holder and web-master

 Mick Botting

Hi - I`m Mick Botting Plot 51 michael.botting@aol.co.uk and for those that don`t know me Val and I have the chickens at the bottom of the site. Please feel free to join in anything about Vale Road allotments, contributions are welcome; any stories, tips or advice gratefully received. Have you anything to give away sell or exchange? Maybe you have some gardening tips which would help new gardeners.

I want to take some photos of members and perhaps put a bit about them. This may be a way of introducing others that you may not have met. Nothing too intrusive and only with permission of members of course.

Val and I are the first on the site with chickens and we were complete novices when we took it on. Despite a few initial negative comments about how the foxes will get them, after 17 month so far so good, and we really enjoy looking after them, although we have a friend who has just had all of her chickens wiped out by a fox, so we need to keep vigilant.

I am going to try to set up a simple site for news, photos, and any contributions. I say simple because I am no great shakes on a computer but I hope I can make it interesting for members. I would like to emphasise that I am not a committee member but I have had an allotment here for more years than I care to remember.

One significant change that has occurred in the last few years is the number of ladies and young families that have taken on plots. And the allotments are no longer  male dominated. It helps to create a balance,and lets face it a pretty lady out there among the plants makes a change.

I have met quite a few characters out here during the years....anybody remember Percy Frost? He was as deaf as a post and his shouted conversations could be heard from.400 yards away!  He was fond of the ladies and would make a bee line for any female he spotted among the vegatables and sneak his arm around them as he offered his advice.

Then there was Jack Martin in his sack cloth apron who trundled his wheelbarrow around in all weathers at 93 years old.

Another old timer was Margaret Buckfield who as well as looking after her late husband`s plot, she had time to visit the Age Concern to help out the poor old dears as she delicately put it; Margaret`s husband was a founder member of the allotments and won many prizes in horticulture shows.

Bill Jenner was well known for his comical placards he erected around his plot such as 'Don`t  kill yourself in the garden, do it in mine instead` or `Funny weedy things`

We do have a laugh and a joke now and again as well as getting on with the job of growing our fruit and veg!

Meet the Gardeners!

Jagger runs a nursing home in East Grinstead and comes down to his allotment because it`s nice and peaceful he says.
Colin Gurr
Colin Gurr
Committee member Colin is the man to ask if you need any help. Always obliging and seems to come up with solutions to any problems
Ann Atkinson
Ann Atkinson
Ann has her plot with her son in law and has been doing it for ten years. Ann was a former post office Area Manager that covered Sussex, Hampshire and Kent.
Stuart & Drusilla Miers
Stuart & Drusilla Miers
Stuart and Dru work together on their allotment They are both active members of `Friends of Ashenground and Bolnore woods`. Stuart organises teams of volunteers to keep the woods in good shape. He has also been a main man in fighting to keep parts of the woods the builders have their eye on. Drusilla is a retired nurse.
Rob Forster
Rob Forster
Rob has got to be the longest serving member on the allotments. He came here in the 50`s from the allotment site in Park road which was taken over for building Ryecroft an estate just off of Woodride.
Richard & luz
Richard & luz
Richard and Luz are enjoying working their allotment and have added a poly-tunnel. Richard has retired from an Insurance office, while Luz from South America works part time teaching Spanish at evening school.
Tony Hardy
Tony Hardy
Tony has recently stood down from the committee, he has been chairman and secretary all rolled into one in the past and has been instrumental on setting up numerous projects on the site. He built a great verandah attatched to the new shed, and set up a water saving system that all members can use.
Mick & Val Botting
Mick & Val Botting
Val and I get on extremely well on our allotment just as long as I do as I`m told. Note the `Head Gardener` on her jumper. The chickens get more cuddles than me nowadays.
John Froud
John Froud
John does gardening for a living and has had his allotment for 25 years. John says he was the first to erect a shed over here. Rarely seen without his pipe.
Pam Hardy
Pam Hardy
Pam maintains all of our borders and shrubbery which we appreciate very much. She`s the other half of Tony Hardy.
Jacko Pat Dempsey & Ann
Jacko Pat Dempsey & Ann
Jacko has been involved with allotments for many years.Recently retired he`s finding more time to maintain his plot.
Pierro & Salvatore
Pierro & Salvatore
Pierro (left) has had his prize winning allotment right by the big gate for ten years. His friend Salvatore from Sicily has his plot further down, and he likes to specialise in all things Italian, or Sicilian.
Dawn Newman
Dawn Newman
Dawn still maintains her plot after having moved from Vale Road to Burgess Hill.
Tim Newnham
Tim Newnham
Tim hails from Balcombe originally he and his sons run a plastic business.
Dave Perkins
Dave Perkins
Congratulations to Dave & Anna recently had a baby girl named Poppy. If Dave`s missing from his plot he`s `GONE FISHING`
Dino Bolletta
Dino Bolletta
Dino as you can see is a keen cyclist He`s doing the London to Brighton again this year. It`s June 20th and he`s hoping to raise a lot of money again for charity.
Meet Silvia Ameno-Schummer & family
Meet Silvia Ameno-Schummer & family
Many hands make light work!!! Silvia parents and children. Italian but been in England for a long time. Took over plot last year.They Have not met our other Italian friends yet.
Nicky Parnell
Nicky Parnell
Nicky has been very brave and taken on Ron`s old plot that turns into a pond. She is hoping to amend that by topping the low bit up so that it doesn`t flood.

Click on any picture in this gallery to enlarge it then click on green border to take it off

Lots more members to come with their permission. Please use Blog page for any comments, suggestions etc.

Taking these photos have introduced me to members that I have not previously been introduced to.  It`s a good way of getting to know other allotment holders.

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