Green-fingered Jeff Walker’s allotment named best in Sheffield

Top honour: Jeff Walker wins the Bolton Cup.
Top honour: Jeff Walker wins the Bolton Cup.
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GREEN-FINGERED gardening enthusiast Jeff Walker has spent 27 years growing a knack for plants and produce - and now he is turning allotment owners across Sheffield green with envy.

From carrots to cabbage, potatoes to beans - you name it, Jeff grows it.

Now the 68-year-old has scooped the most sought-after prize among the city’s green-fingered army - the Bolton Cup.

The honour gives his allotment the title of best in Sheffield - and Jeff, from Crookes, was awarded the cup in recognition of his work with local schoolchildren.

For years he has opened his allotment on Marsh Lane in Crosspool to pupils from nearby Lydgate Primary School, to show them how his garden grows.

And it is not just youngsters who reap the benefit of his allotment.

Where most wives have to put up with petrol station flowers on the rare occasion their other half buys them, Ann Walker gets her pick of the best bunches of chrysanthemums and dahlias.

Jeff said: “The hardest thing to grow is probably chrysanthemums but my wife likes them. She gets fresh flowers all the time for the house!

“And I love welcoming the kids to my allotment and seeing their reactions. There was one boy who saw a little stalk with sprouts on. He could not believe sprouts grew on stalks!

“Every year I have a different theme, and I try to change what I grow. This year it has been beans. I grow baked beans - haricot beans which are used to make them.

“I know most garden centres in Yorkshire. I grow anything and everything.”

The former lorry driver spent his professional life surrounded by flowers and plants, transporting stock for a horticultural company, where his passion grew for all things bright and beautiful.

He juggled his gardening with work - before devoting his newly-found freedom to the hobby after retiring.

He has entered the coveted Bolton Cup, run by Sheffield Council, in the past but previously missed out on scooping the winner’s prize.

Judges tour green spaces across the city and give them points based on what is grown, composting, how well hedges are trimmed, and other criteria - keeping an eye out for any weeds along the way.

The news his garden had come top this year came just as Jeff was released from hospital for a slipped disc in his back, caused by picking up his grandson, rather than lon his allotment.

The modest winner said: “The judges must have had a poor year! I couldn’t believe it when they said it was me. I was delighted. I’m chuffed.”