Sheena Patterson of Oxford Garden Design is eating the fruits of somebody else's green labours

I’m feeling uncharacteristically smug and organised about feeding the hordes who will be descending en masse chez Patterson for Easter Sunday lunch.

Nestling in my freezer is a very large, utterly delicious, rhubarb crumble. And, joy of joys, the rhubarb is a product of my very own garden.

I confess to feeling something of a domestic goddess, although in truth I’ve done little more than pick and cook.

The rhubarb simply, and rather magically, appeared earlier this spring in the rather sadly neglected and overgrown vegetable plot. The former owner of my garden died last year at a ripe old age and had obviously been a keen grower of fruit and vegetables.

The rhubarb is the only thing that seems to have survived.

It is poignant to think that his plants still grow to be enjoyed by a new generation.

Years ago, before I had children, (ie when I had the time and energy), I shared an allotment with a friend in Stonesfield. We grew rhubarb and I’m now wondering if that too has survived and is waiting in somebody else’s fridge or freezer for an Easter feast too. There’s something incredibly satisfying about growing your own food and if you don’t have a big enough garden, an allotment is a brilliant way of doing it.

Historically allotments date back to when wealthy landowners decided to enclose land and put an end to the old medieval system which had allowed ordinary people to graze a cow or a few pigs on common land. Instead, poorer people were allotted a strip of land for their own use – hence the term “allotments”.

Invaluable in the war years, allotments became unfashionable until fairly recently when more folk became inspired to have a go and grow their own produce. Far from being a place for the poor, nowadays there’s often a waiting list to get a council allotment and failure to maintain the allotment to required standards can lead to uncompromising eviction.

Although the allotment’s image as the last bastion of the flat cap brigade, carrying thermos flasks in a bid to escape ‘her indoors’, survives, these days you’re more likely to encounter inner city eco warriors in fierce competition over the size of their organic marrows. This trend reflects the increasing number of people concerned about the provenance of food and healthy eating.

Growing your own is cheaper, healthier and you can choose to avoid chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

I also love to see the generations working together on the allotment. Mums with toddlers, grandparents with their grandchildren, dads with sons and daughters, all having fun outdoors, learning about nature and experiencing the pleasure of growing their own.

With the start of the new BBC programme The Big Allotment Challenge, I expect that the demand for allotments to rise. There are 36 sites in the city of Oxford and many others in Oxfordshire towns and villages.

To enquire about one visit and this time next year you could be tucking into a taste of the ‘good life’ with your home grown rhubarb crumble too.