Sunday, November 19, 2017


This is one of the more interesting looking of the garden allotments on the island at Saint-Aignan. The two little storage buildings wear their age well. Maybe it has to do with the slate roofs. The planting plots are clean and recently tilled. It's not just this one, either. Most of the allotments are obviously well tended. Only a few look abandoned and wild.

The allotments are often planted with fruit and nut trees in addition to the cultivated ground plots for vegetables.

I'm not certain what garden allotments are called in the US. I don't remember ever seeing them in the places I've lived. In some cities there were, and are, "community gardens," but that's a slightly different concept, although Wikipedia says that the differences are becoming blurred. Community gardening started out with a single plot of land worked by many members of a community, whereas allotment gardening consists of distinctly separate plots worked by individuals or families.

Allotment gardening seems to have started in England and was adopted in France around the turn of the century (that would be 1900, for you youngsters out there). They were called jardins ouvriers (workers' gardens) at first, but after the second world war, they became known as jardins familiaux (family gardens).


  1. Our neighbor has one on the banks of the Loire. It's a great arrangement we have with him. He does all the garden work and we share in the bounty. From that my wife cooks up something for him (e.g., tomato sauce, zucchini bread) to complete the cycle.

  2. Those slate roofs really do add to the charm.

  3. I think they began in Germany in the 1860s and were called Schreber gardens....When we lived in Germany we overlooked a little valley filled with these and it was so beautiful in the spring when the fruit trees were in bloom.

  4. Old Town Alexandria offers allotments to residents, in the bottom land near the bride over the Potomac. I live just outside the city limits.

  5. Wow, I didn't know that they offered these allotment gardens. So, are you saying that this is public land, but the rights to garden it are given (in plots) are given over to individual families (who don't have an area to garden at home)?

  6. I think you would enjoy exploring the Fenway Victory Gardens of Boston, the oldest continuously operating allotments in the US. It's better to do it in person, but the web site gives you an idea of their genius and charm:


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