Gardening: things my mother never told me*

By Jane

It’s OK to wear a sports bra when gardening. In fact, it’s often advisable. Unless you are a man

Put sunblock on: you will be out much longer than you planned. Sunscreen’s not just for summer; wear it all year round.

Gardening time is slower than indoor time by a factor of about three. Hence; ”I’ll be ten minutes, dear’, will be at least half an hour (sorry, Andrew!)

Gardening burns up more calories than any other form of exercise.

Treat gardening as exercise; stretch, and drink lots of water. Unless it’s the middle of winter and your Italian neighbour offers you home-made grappa. It would be rude to refuse.

Jam jars and biscuit tins are really useful. Jam jars have jam in them, and biscuit tins – well, you get the idea. Plus, you can re-use the containers. Jam jars for your homemade jams and chutney. Keep your seed packets in biscuit tins, and the mice (there are always mice) won’t be able to eat them.

Milton fluid has uses beyond sterilising things for your baby. It is excellent for sterilising jam jars, demi-johns and so forth for your homemade stuff.

Your friends will always be more willing to take surplus harvest off your hands than they will be to help in the creation of it.

Disposing of weeds and trimmings takes three times longer than weeding or hedge-trimming itself.

Black plant pots are not recyclable.

Don’t wear red nail varnish when picking raspberries. It gets confusing.

You can never have too many sheds. Or buckets.

No matter how huge the shed looks in the catalogue, within a month of it arriving, you will be wondering where to put everything that doesn’t fit in it.

Gardening gloves never quite last as long as the gardening season.

You will never finish everything on your gardening ‘to do’ list.

Gardeners are optimistic; gardening releases endorphins – gardening does make you happy.

Nail varnish is an excellent way of hiding the mud under your nails.

If you need help with anything, ask a gardener. Most gardeners are willing, helpful and practical. Some even have vans.

Enjoying your garden doesn’t only mean weeding and planting. You can sit down and have a cup of tea in it every once in a while. Really.

Autumn raspberries will always be an unexpected joyful treat.

*Actually, my mum taught me quite a lot of this. And her mum gave me the nail varnish tips. Thanks, both.