Allotment poems

allotment garden poems

The Garden

D. Titchenell

Allotment or community
Such gardens are, where e’er they be
But plot or glebe of fecund soil
Which yields when blessed with simple toil
A trove of carrots, chard and beets
And pristine veggies that one eats
Commensurate with what was sown
When we have nurtured on our own
A crop without the toxic sprays
That taint the food for which one pays.
But can a garden so conceived
Survive without support received
From state or county? – possibly
We’ll do our best, but we shall see …










Elegy in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Grey


Narrator: K. Titchenell

THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day;
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea;
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike the inevitable hour:—
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;
Chill penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton, here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet ev’n these bones, from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev’n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,—

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say:
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

“There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.

“One morn I missed him on the accustomed hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree.
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood, was he.

“The next with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,—
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”


Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
A youth to fortune and to fame unknown;
Fair science frowned not on his humble birth,
And melancholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,
He gained from Heaven (’twas all he wished) a friend.

No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.



Tink’s Fanfare

Tink’s Fanfare Score



Video Tutorials: Greystone Gardening with George

Greystone Gardening with George

Los Angeles County UC Master Gardener George Pessin, in collaboration with Greystone Mansion, has put together a series of short, informative videos that cover an array of gardening topics. I have included a list of links and descriptions below. Perhaps, you will find just the information you are looking for in one of them (or all of them)!

Episode 1 – Getting Started
Choosing a location, seeds, or seedlings, make a sketch.

Episode 2 – What to Grow In
Containers, raised beds, or directly in the ground? If you have the available space do all three.

Episode 3 – What to Grow and When to Grow it
In mild winter areas, we have two main growing seasons, the fall/winter and the spring/summer. We grow cool-weather crops in the fall and warm-weather crops in the spring. Please click here to view the 
vegetable family chart that I reference in the video.

Episode 4 – Essential Tools
What are the essential tools of gardening that you need to get started? Probably a lot less than you think.

Episode 5 – Plant Nutrition & How to Amend a Bed
To improve the structure of the soil as well as to add back nutrients we amend our beds every season by adding compost or manure. During the season we use organic fertilizers to feed our plants the essential nutrients they need in order to thrive.

Episode 6 – Tomato Planting from Seed to Transplant
From starting tomato seeds in trays to potting up, to transplanting, follow along as we grow our tomato plants.

Episode 7 – How to Grow Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a warm-weather crop with a long growing season. Potatoes are a cool-weather crop, though here in southern California we can plant potatoes practically all year. See our video on how to get started.

Episode 8 – Composting and Worm Composting
Composting involves the decomposition of organic matter through environmental methods that speed up the process. Vermicomposting is the decomposition of organic matter by worms.

Episode 9 – Irrigation
Like humans, plants need water to survive. See best practices of irrigation for your garden and for your containers including different watering methods.

Episode 10 – Garden Activities for Kids – Homemade Gifts
Six different garden activities that parents and children can do together at home.

Episode 11 – DIY Potting Mix
Making your own potting soil can save you money and give you a superior product. You can use this mix for containers large and small as well as for raised beds.

Episode 12 – Pollination and Pollinators
Pollinators are the insects and bees that facilitate the sexual reproduction of plants. Learn about the male and female parts of a flower through The Honeybee Poem.

Episode 13 – Harvesting
Enjoying the fruits of our labor is what it’s all about. Pick early, pick often!

Episode 14 – Mulch and Mulching
Mulch is indispensable. It provides nutrients, looks nice, and cuts down on watering.

Episode 15 – Integrated Pest Management
How we deal with pests and disease in our garden.

Season 2
Starting the Winter Garden
In southern California, the season for cool weather crops is approximately October through April.

Saving Seeds and Sexual Propagation
Saving seeds from our summer fruits for next season.

Winter Garden Maintenance
We discuss fertilizing, thinning, pest control, blanching, and harvesting.


Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

They say she’s alarmist; her science is wrong
That the gloomier models were wrong all along
But the scholarship’s lacking; one doubts what they cite
Why they can’t even learn how to say her name right.

Overcoming Attachment

Overcoming Attachment

Why send me a bloated great MS Word file
Or a PDF picture with format and style
To convey a few lines of text easily said
Or an address or date I can keep in my head?

An email’s text content is all that I need,
No attachments that need a vast program to read
Which could contain viruses, trojans or  worse
When the content is just a place, time or some verse!


— K. Titchenell





A Note to Greta Thunberg

We applaud your resolve when you sound the alarm
And disparage the deeds that will cause our world harm
When one sees how depravity took us so far
It’s hard to believe how dimwitted we are!

But despite noble efforts from scientists who
research and conclude what what we really must do
So much of our leadership shrugs and says “No”
To making commitments best made long ago.

Are we really so shortsighted, puerile and mad
That we’ll throw away any last hope that we had
Of saving Earth from a Venusian fate
By making adjustments before it’s too late?

But there are those whose goals tend a different way
Who erode common sense in our minds every day
For PR folk are clever at sowing confusion
They’re expert at image, desire and delusion

And their skills are for sale — at the bidding of those
Who can pay for the misleading prose they compose
No rigorous testing can get a fair trial
When well-funded campaigns are intent on denial!

With the end of the quarter’s net profit at stake
There’s no limit to what drastic steps they will take.
But take heart, it might be that we will not all fall
To catastrophes stemming from climate at all

With technology’s future, pandemics and war
There’s so much to choose from and every day more
Though the best case for climate might well be the worst
We may well kill ourselves off some other way first.

K. Titchenell


A Christmas Round

  • Now it’s Christmas
  • Gone is the year
  • What did I do in April
  • Or midsummer’s day?
  • Then as the leaves turned gold
  • It slipped away

The Cure For Mondayosis, Excerpts from Rise of the Pirate Classes — Freedom from Mental Manacles

The Cure For Mondayosis

Excerpts from Rise of the Pirate Classes — Freedom from Mental Manacles

We still had to get all the other parents to agree at least to considering the proposal before anything could go forward.

I felt that it fell to me then.  Such sudden wonderful visions of hope could end up vanishing just as easily.  We were asking a lot.  Even Jenny with her books and works on alternative education could find no precedent for what we were proposing.  It all depended on my proposal and I therefore at least needed to produce something that would convince all our parents that we would work better together than we did at school.  I wasn’t sure I could do that but I was absolutely determined, particularly if it meant never having to dread Mondays again.  I never worked so hard.

. . .

[Once the four kids get their school approved provisionally:]

This was bliss!  Sunday no longer murked under the shadow of impending misery; the galley slaves were no longer chained to their desks and no Sunday was ever quite as brilliantly dazzling.  In a fit of compensatory fervor, I spent the whole day working with words — listening to lectures from Oxford, MIT and Stanford, looking up words, playing vocabulary games.  By the end of the day I had actually once managed to get up to level 49 out of 60 in an online vocabulary quiz game.  I probably learnt more than I had all semester and now had over 300 new words in my vocabulary journal and had learnt them all.

I was a bit embarrassed to be seen studying by my parents but they were indulgent when I asked for privacy.  Without a Monday to dread, I continued to enjoy myself well into the night.  This had indeed been the greatest day of my life as I reveled in the thought that Monday in its worst sense might not ever come again.  In the same way that the dread of approaching September had always destroyed the joy of late summer with anticipation of impending enforced confinement and drudgery, Mondays had ever deprived Sundays of much their delight, reducing their function to that of a salutary buffer that protected Saturdays from succumbing to a similar fate.  From this point on, my new school life promised to make September and Mondays into something quite different.  As time passed, they would start to become eagerly anticipated goals but that was also soon to vanish into an even more sublime state as September and Mondays both lost all significance.  This was only a natural consequence of both June and Friday having lost theirs.  Our weeks, days and nights would cease conforming to a schedule and we would find ourselves always eager to start and reluctant to relinquish working with our chosen enthusiasm of the moment.  These were to leak into all of our lives and permeate them.  I prefer not to think of it as “school”, a concept to which they would come to bear little resemblance, but the word continues to be used for purely practical reasons.

Forrest Waltz

Written for dance teacher, Forrest Walsh, on his 40th birthday.  He probably never listened to it.

— DK Titche

Musical Score