Visiting Frau Meise: Five questions to an Instagrammer we love
Marie aka Frau Meise owns an allotment in Hamburg. In this interview, she tells us why she bought her allotment and what she enjoys the most about her favorite hobby.
From time to time we all dream about escaping our urban lives, to live more sustainably and to grow our own fruit and vegetables. Marie is living this dream as she bought an allotment in Hamburg five years ago. This month we’re celebrating urban gardening with our urban garden specials made with seasonal ingredients grown locally. All of this means it’s the perfect time for an interview with Frau Meise! On her blog, architect Marie takes you into her allotment, gives valuable tips and offers a lot in terms of inspiration. Are you looking forward to getting to know Marie and her hobby? Here’s your chance.
Dear Marie, thanks for taking the time today to answer some questions about your garden. You’ve been the proud owner of an allotment since 2013. How did you decide to take on this project?
My friend and I wanted a little bit of green space where we could let off some steam. But we didn’t want to drive out of the city every time so an allotment was the perfect solution! Here we can relax, plant seeds and take care of our plants. It’s a great place to escape our busy lives in the city. A few years ago, people were quite narrowminded when it came to allotments. When we bought our garden by chance five years ago, we were sometimes seen as a bit weird when we said that we were allotment owners. We never thought that we would have an allotment, and today we can’t imagine living in the city without it!
You had to put lot of work in at the beginning, did you take over the remodeling work on the allotment yourself?
Yes, we completely transformed the garden and the summerhouse over the years. The summerhouse was a really unattractive box filled with charming pieces from the ‘70s and the garden looked like a boring graveyard. We started right away with renovating the summerhouse, razing the garden and creating a vegetable garden. The changes were seen almost immediately, and the effects have lasted until this day! The garden changes year by year and is becoming more and more beautiful. There is always something to do in and around the summerhouse as well. We converted the bland partially rotten box into a cozy summerhouse which is Nordic in style. To do this we took off the old leaky roof and built a new pitched roof, under which we built a small bedroom. We had to rebuild and repair the walls, the floor and the interior linings. But, when we took down the old summerhouse, we used all of the old building materials such as squared timbers, windows, roof tiles and boards and reused everything to build the new one.
You’ve built a lot yourself – which fruits and vegetables could you not do without?
There are some classics that I always grow, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, green beans, broad beans, carrots, lettuce, mange tout, zucchini, pumpkin, red cabbage, kale and chard. I also like to try growing different varieties and seeing what works. Some varieties grow really well, others just don’t come up at all. Slowly, but surely, I’ve worked out what grows well here.
Do you eat all of your fruit and veggies yourself?
It depends on the year and the weather. If all goes well, we don’t have to buy fruit and vegetables all summer. But we don’t grow enough to feed us for the whole year so I make jams or store some of our produce in our mini-cellar in the allotment. Potatoes last until December, for example.
A look at your blog and your Instagram account shows that not only do you have a green thumb, but you also have a hand for decoration and crafts. Is there a project that you are particularly proud of?
My gardener's shed that I designed and built together with my friend in the vegetable garden. In the front we have a small space for the tomatoes so that they are protected from the weather. In the back, I have a workplace with an old terrazzo sink and a worktop made of scaffolding planks for potting. In the spring, we turn part of the tomato house into a miniature greenhouse, where we grow the young plants. I've also paved a path up to the shed, and this was also made out of the old bricks from the old summerhouse.
Thanks a lot for sharing your stories with us, Marie. We look forward to seeing which projects you tackle on your allotment next!