Is your body garden-ready? ‘Yes’ we can shout as one, because other than on Naked Gardening Day (a date for your diary – May 4 2019) our hobby requires multiple, stout layers, which, luckily, conceal a multitude of sins.
But gardening garb does require a little forethought so here are our tips on what to wear and what to avoid for that essential post-Christmas gardening workout.
*Firstly, don’t wear anything you care about, it WILL get frayed, torn and mud-stained.
*Secondly, resign yourself to the fact that you are not going to look good (see our feature photo of Elaine above – I rest my case…..)
*Thirdly, the more you garden the more you realise it’s all those little refinements put together that count (speaking of which, take a look at Louise’s multi- faceted plant of the month).
Take fleeces for example; many gardening tasks involve bending and stretching and a fleece that exposes a bare midriff to a biting east wind is hopeless; they must be long and snug fitting, keeping your core and kidneys warm (although in Caroline’s case it’s the liver that is the main cause of concern 🍷 hic).
Shallow pockets are another no-no; you really do need to take your phone with you everywhere nowadays and it can’t be dropping into dungheaps or garden ponds so a deep zipped pocket is essential.
Long sleeves with holes that can be looped over your thumbs to keep your wrists warm are a rarely seen but valuable asset in a fleece, as is a high collar that zips right to the top.
Last year I miraculously came across three identical green fleeces with all of these attributes in a charity shop, so I bought all three and issued E and C with one each. I can see from Elaine’s photos that she regularly uses hers, haven’t seen evidence of any use from Caroline yet….
Okay, so those all sound typically sensible suggestions from Laura. Since it is a couple of days to Christmas, you are possibly only considering items with bells, glitter or antlers on them at the moment, but if not, I can give you a nice little set of Do’s and Dont’s about gardening clothes, drawn from my own experience:
* Wear WATERPROOF wellies- which is, after all, their raison d’être. At present, Santa dear, both my old Hunter boots leak, and donning Tesco carrier bags before putting on your wellies, is neither healthy nor high chic.
* Consider buying gardening trousers with pockets for removable knee pads. Mine are TMG and I LOVE them. Being able to get down and dirty by kneeling without wrecking your kneecaps, can help massively to avoid the back-strain of digging with a spade all the time. Though I’m afraid getting back up again doesn’t get any easier…
* Have a holster on your belt to carry secateurs. Once you’ve got one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without. All sizes are available, but I have a little one which came with my mini Spear & Jackson secateurs. Make sure the holster is held in place by your belt-loops though, or it will slide forward in the manner of an alarmingly robust male posing pouch – I gave our postie a helluva fright one day.
And now a couple of DON’TS:
* Don’t underestimate the number of pockets you need for bits of twine, plant labels, tissues, scissors, munchies, scrunchies, phone….
* And lastly, don’t use pond-waders as handy thorn-proof overalls. I did , and now they are so full of holes, they are only useful as exotic party-wear for imaginative friends to find (you know who you are….)
I wonder if Caroline has any gardening clothes at all, beyond some Marigolds and a flowery headband like Margo in The Good Life?
Heavens, what do my sisters look like? We were never debutante material but still, no need to crawl around the garden on all fours like excited five-year-olds on a treasure hunt. This is why God invented the hoe and the long-handled edging tool.
So I draw the line at padded plumbers’ trousers but do recognise we need the right sort of wear for hands and feet. I aim to have fingers that tuck neatly around a champagne flute, not to be like sausages around a pint glass, so the right gloves are important. Now we all know the problem with leather gloves. Although hard-wearing they go like concrete without your constant attention. So really something synthetic is a better option for ‘close work’ – check out Foxglove. They look as though they know a thing or two about the need for protection AND precision in the gardening glove department (also available in lots of colours).
Now, feet. Never mind Elaine’s rather ‘last year’ Hunter wellies, you really have to invest in a pair of Sperry Topsider duck boots. I found mine in America and in a rare flurry of generosity, bought Laura a pair as well. We’ve never had them off. Rubber lower bits keep the water out, leather upper bits provide ankle support. With their zips, laces and with good sole grips, they’ll outlive your hips, knees and, no doubt, my liver as Laura points out.
Of course, it’s nice of Laura to have bought me a second-hand fleece in return but, what do you think of it? Does it remind you of ‘The Great Escape’? Exactly. I suppose if you don’t have a waist per se, it doesn’t matter. But my sort of gardening can very quickly morph into sitting on the patio with whoever calls by. Trust me, a padded waistcoat is ideal for both pastimes.
We’ve loved every minute of our 2018 Growbag blog, but it wouldn’t happen without knowing that others are reading it, leaving comments and chatting to us about it. Honestly, thank you so much. We’re really looking forward to your company in 2019. Wishing you a wonderfully happy, plant-filled Christmas.