Can you dig it? Peppermint’s got its own allotment!

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The Peppermints are usually a glamorous posse. These days, however, you’re likely to spot them in mud-caked wellies as they head back from a stint at Peppermint Patch – our very own allotment.

You might think it a little unusual for a PR agency to have an allotment. Here’s how it came about.

Having languished a full four and a half years on an allotment waiting list, and having pretty much given up hope, I got a phone call out of the blue just before Christmas to let me know that – hurrah!!!! – a plot had become available.  The first hurdle was a nerve-wracking interview with Sue, the head honcho, who grilled me on how much time I’d be able to spend weeding every day.  Having assured her that the plot would indeed be tended lovingly, the keys were handed over and the half-plot was mine, complete with – oh double joy! – a greenhouse and shed.

Once the initial euphoria had worn off, the full realisation of the challenge ahead hit me.  I was used to my little raised bed in the privacy of my garden, where no one but my family bore witness to a succession of disastrous crops. Here, on the other hand, was 126.5 sq m of land to be cultivated. And in the full glare of seasoned gardeners of advanced years, notoriously unforgiving of allotment holders who let the side down.

And so Peppermint Patch was made into a communal plot – a place where the team would dig, sow, harvest and drink lots of tea out of a flask together.

For the past few weeks, the allotment fraternity has been greeted with the unexpected sight of an excitable gaggle of PRs descending on the plot on a Thursday afternoon. Swapping computer screens for rakes and spades, we’ve stepped out of the office to while away hours in the fresh air, with the sun on our faces and birdsong in the background.   

It’s not all been a walk in the park. We’ve already incurred a fair bit of flack from our fellow allotment-holders, particularly when Alice forgot her wellies and rocked up in pink ballet pumps, to much scoffing from Alan on the next plot. He then proceeded to berate us for holding the spade incorrectly, not standing properly on the soil, digging in the wrong direction etc etc.

Alan and his fellow flat-capper Dennis threw down the gauntlet with a snigger of “let’s see how long you lot last then”.  Determined to prove our naysayers wrong, we’ve been preparing the ground as if our lives depended on it. The Peppermints are a hardy lot, and not given to doing things by half. There’ll certainly be mistakes and disappointments along the way, and we’re counting on picking up lots of tips from our older and wiser neighbours, but we’re set on making Peppermint Patch a flourishing oasis. Watch this space to see how we get on.