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Our Plot [Hardcover]

Cleve West
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 16.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Oct 2011

Cleve West is one of Britain's top garden designers, with six RHS gold medals to his name and a high profile Daily Telegraph sponsored garden at Chelsea Flower Show 2011. He is also a true allotmenteer, heading off to his plot whenever he can to get his hands dirty, find peace and contemplate life and nature.

His book is a joy to read, humorous and humble, full of practical commonsense, and a belief in the values of community and sustainable living. There is plenty of advice here for plot holders - often of the what-not-to-do sort and written from sorry experience - and plenty of inspiration too in the creative ways that Cleve and his partner Christine make the most of their plot and enjoy the company of their fellow allotmenteers.

There are easy to follow sections on Vegetables and Herbs, Flowers and Fruit, with recipes and troubleshooting tips as well as chapters on Community, Creativity and Children. Amply illustrated with Cleve's own beautiful photographs, fantastical drawings by Cleve and Christine and shots of the two of them at work taken by Cleve's cousin the garden photographer Derek St Romaine, Our Plot is also a visual cornucopia.

To watch a video of the launch of Our Plot click here


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; 1st edition (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711232369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711232365
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 284,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The book is written in a friendly, chatty style; it is easy to imagine that you are sitting in Cleve's shed, listening to stories punctuated with Cleve's philosophies on life and gardening, over a steaming cup of tea - this is Cleve's personal, often humorous take on the subject... Their book has a real 'feel-good' factor; you will find it an absolute joy to read.

(BBC Gardens Illustrated)

If you are looking for a practical book, if you fancy a window into what allotments are really all about, or if you want a beautifully written insight into one of life's finer people, then please buy it. It is very good indeed.

(English Garden)

Packed with advice and inspiration.

(Country Living)

His common-sense approach to allotment gardening. It's full of tips for successful growing, while Cleve happily admits past mistakes, offering what-not-to-do advice.

(Amateur Gardening)

A strong sense of community emerges as the dominant theme of Cleve's book. Yes, it has plenty of information on how to growthe usual allotment crops. But the most engaging thing about it is the way it celebrates the allotment spirit: tolerance (if possible), humour and a willingness to help out when fellow plot holders are hard-pushed.

(Independent)

A unique and lovely book, as much memoir, rallying call and recipe book as gardening manual, in which frustration and failures, frankly declared, feature alongside practical and encouraging advice on how to enrich our lives by the 'simple art of growing food'. A love of plants and a depth of knowledge of their behaviour and habits makes this a joyful read, not just for food growers but for all gardeners.

(Lady)

What a delight this book is, describing life and food on a sociable allotment close to Hampton Court. The fact that it's owned by Cleve West (Gold Medal designer of many Chelsea Flower show gardens) doesn't distract for Cleve is a practical man full of advice and pragmatism. Forget grand gardens - this is real life and entertainment.

(Oxford Times)

This is a touching, heart-warming book which managed to make me, as a novice plot holder feel better about my first year's attempts but also inspired me to keep going. Cleve has captured everything that is special about allotments as he says 'being there is as important as what ends up on the plate'. This is a must read.

(Welly Woman)

Will help prospective allotment holders prepare for the hard work that's in store when you take on a plot, but also give them a tast of the rewards.

(Scotsman)

This is how allotments should be in garden heaven. No sniping comments, threats of eviction or sneering at bendy carrots. Cleve and his wife tell of their real life experiences on a site where people bond, grow and enjoy. Fascinating, useful and uplifting.

(Garden Answers)

"I would highly recommend Our Plot and certainly give it to friends who were thinking of starting an allotment, as even though it is practical, it also shows how wonderful an allotment is - not only from the pleasure of growing your own, but also from the diversity of people one meets and the friendships one makes." Jekka McVicar, author of Jekka's Herb Cookbook

(Jekka McVicar English Garden)

"This book is, in every way, utterly delightful." James Alexander-Sinclair, garden designer and writer

(James Alexander-Sinclair English Garden)

A personal account by a wonderful gardener all about his community of allotmenteers.

(Sunday Telegraph)

Relaxed account of life and camaraderie on his west London allotment, supported by recipes, practical tips for growing fruit and vegetables, plus sound advice.

(Sunday Times)

A very personal book full of warmth about people, food and allotments, which even brought on a few tears.

(Lia Leendertz Guardian)

A visual feast as well as a mouth-watering read.

(Herbs)

There have been many books about allotment gardening lately, some of them practical guides, others humorous. But Cleve West's is the most personable and best designed yet.

(Evening Standard)

If you want some no-nonsense allotment inspiration from one who knows, six times Chelsea gold medal winner and allotment holder Cleve West has produced his first book which is full of practical tips. West admits his mistakes so there's plenty of advice of the what-not-to-do variety, as well as brilliant tips for successful growing - and delicious cooking - of all the best fruit and veg.

(Eastern Daily Press)

The tales of triumphs, setbacks and backaches will inspire you to start hatching plans for new projects.

(Sunday Telegraph)

His love for allotmenteering and the family and friends who share his world leaps off the page in a lively mix of drawings, snapshots and solid gardening tips. It's a simple but alluring glimpse of the good life.

(Sunday Times)

Feed your fantasies further with some inspirational reading

(Grow Your Own)

This is a book to cherish or to give to a friend. It is definitely for anyone with dewy-eyed notions of cosy self-sufficiency - and should be compulsory reading for all first-time allotmenteers. It will be enjoyed by anyone that loves the practicalities of gardening and a good story.

(The Garden)

A joy to read. Both humorous and humble, it's full of practical common sense and a belief in the values of community and sustainable living

(Grow Your Own)

'A joy to read, humorous and humble, full of practical common sense, and belief in community and sustainable living. There is plenty of inspiration and advice for plotholders in the creative ways that Cleve and his partner Christine make the most of their plot and enjoy the company of their fellow allotmenteers.'

(Garden News)

Review

'In this book Cleve beautifully and simply illustrates the world of the allotment: the successes and the failures, the camaraderie and the generosity of the fellow gardener; and how, despite worldly pressures on the environment, the food chain and green space, the gardener is the eternal optimist - for there is always next year.'

Jekka McVicar



'Allotment envy or what? Not only has Cleve got umpteen Gold medals at Chelsea, but he also has the best allotment I've ever seen. He practically lives on it during spring and summer.'

Joe Swift



'Until I met Cleve I thought that allotmenteering was something you did on a mountain with a compass and pair of sturdy boots. Having visited his plot I now know that it is something more satisfying, less windswept and (above all) much more delicious. You still need the boots, though.'

James Alexander Sinclair


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Good and Bad Bits of an Allotment 30 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover
Been unwell for a few days so unable to get to the allotment. This is the best book I have read on the allotment for ages. This man has a great sense of humour plus the love of life. Cleve is obvously a lover of the soil and nature. I have learnt much on green manure and the general care of the soil. If only we could all realise that allotments take time and love to survive but the joy they give back is tremendous. Read this book in two days - cheered me up no end and I would recommend this book to the beginner or the old timer. Will enjoy this book again in the winter when I am unable to garden. Great recipes too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and easy read 17 April 2012
By S. Ford
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having seen a couple of good reviews in gardening magazines and being a big fan of Cleve West I decided to buy two copies (one for me and one for a birthday present).

This book is slightly different from normal allotment books as although it gives advice on the practicalities of growing your own, its more of a reflective narrative of starting an allotment from the characters in adjoining plots, the creative and 'organic' process of placing and building sheds, planning their plot and mistakes too.

The book is also a lovely insight into Cleve's relationship with his mother who sadly passed away.

If you are a Cleve fan or have your own allotment I would recommend this book. Having an allotment also, I found myself chuckling and nodding in many places in agreement of his observations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read 8 Feb 2012
By Troylin
Format:Hardcover
This is an amusing and informative book. Many of the characters, and especially those with lots of time to talk, resonate with my experience of taking on an allotment five years ago. The book should be a compulsory read for all those taking on a plot as it really sets out the highs and lows, but it is also an entertaining read for the more experienced plot holder. Just wish it had been a bit longer!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - philosophy and practical support 1 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who either has a plot or is thinking about getting one. I was fortunate that I was not put off by thinking "another posh Chelsea garden designer jumping on the Grow Your Own bandwagon", as I didn't really know anything about West's fame as a designer before reading the book. However he wears whatever fame he has in that area lightly and modestly, and is certainly also modest about his achievements at his allotments, as all allotmenteeers should be.

There is plenty of practical advice - of which the most useful to some might be "are you really sure you want to have an allotment, because this is what it means..."!

There is also a healthy smattering of social and family chit-chat, underlining the role that the plot has played in West's own life variously as a refuge and socialising center.

Most interesting to me and so resonant with my own thinking are the sections dealing with the potential future significance of growing our own food locally in a coming time of post-Peak Oil. Very positive and forward-thinking, but again modest in attributing the roots of ideas he promulgates to others before him. I felt I would really like working on his plot with him and Christine, and sitting down afterwards for a plate of delicious food and a large glass of wine.

Oh, and it's beautifully photographed, very tidliy arranged and an easy and inspiring read. Well done Cleve and his editor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner but really warmed to it 8 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was my Christmas present to myself. It had excellent reviews so maybe I expected too much as initially I was a bit disappointed. However by the end I loved it. It is full of helpful advice, warm tales and gentle humour. It was also good to hear that everything the author does on his allotment is not an immediate success. He may be a Chelsea Gold winner but allotment gardening is something completely different. If you haven't got an allotment it will leave you wanting one. If you want a detailed 'how to'it will leave you wanting one, but if it's winter and you are missing long days at your own allotment it will warm your heart.
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