WENDY Beal calls it her “green gym”.
The allotment in the Rivelin Valley that keeps her busy every day helps to keep her fit – and it’s always buzzing with activity.
So much so that Wendy, a retired Sheffield University clinic nurse, has won a city-wide competition for the most environmentally friendly plot for the second year running.
She takes a green approach whenever possible.
“I try to work with my surroundings, I work with nature,” she says. “I use logs and other natural materials and I recycle.
“I made the greenhouse myself from recycled timber, I have got a shed made out of half recycled timber and I used everything I could find for the hen hut.
“I try to grow organic, I’m virtually chemical free.”
Wendy, who lives in Stannington, was also judged to have the best allotment on the Roscoe Plantation in the annual council-run contest.
She grows vegetables and flowers that attract bees and other insects, there’s a pond for newts, frogs and toads and a chicken run.
There are nest boxes and birds such as wrens, robins, great tits, blue tits, thrushes, woodpeckers and willow warblers are visitors – along with pupils from Shooters Grove School at Stannington who pop in every year to improve their environmental knowledge.
“I’m trying my best and it’s exciting to watch the wildlife coming in,” says Wendy, aged 66. “This year wasn’t as good as previous years because of the weather, but all kinds of insects are coming in now.”
She has been running the allotment for ten years, and can be there from 6.30am to 9.30pm in the summer.
“It’s just brilliant. I’m in a flat without a garden but I’m ten minutes’ walk away. I have lots of fun. I cook food from the allotment.
“The grandchildren come down, I have barbecues and Hallowe’ens down there.”
She likes to walk, covering 41 miles a week, according to her pedometer. But the allotment certainly keeps her on her toes.
“I call it my green gym. There is so much work to do and you use all kinds of muscles. It keeps you fit.”