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Viola cornuta

A vase of Viola cornuta rescued from the garden tidy up this weekend.

I can’t be the only untidy, slightly disorganised and clumsy gardener out there, can I? Here are just a few musings and tips you probably won’t read in a gardening book.

Occasionally, I end up at the plot with no receptacle in which to put the few raspberries I’ve spotted. I recommend not putting them in your coat pocket thinking they’ll be ok until you get home. Firstly, if you’re like me, you’ll forget and only realise once you’ve squished them or secondly, you’ll forget completely, only to discover them, several weeks later, as you produce your purse at the shop as a mouldy mess congealed in the bottom of your pocket.

I’ve discovered it’s not a good idea to put on your wellies on a hot day without any socks. The combination of hot rubber and sweaty feet creates a strange sticking action which makes it nearly impossible to remove them. Cue hopping about, straining and yanking until they finally come off with a squelching noise and the feeling that you’ve left behind a layer of skin.

A Shropshire Lad

Rose ‘Shropshire Lad’

Never pick up a slug with bare hands. Their slime has powers of stickiness, as yet, untapped by science. You’ll wash your hands and think they’re clean but, oh no, that goo has staying power.

Don’t forget to open your cold frame on a hot and sunny day when your shallots are drying inside it. I did, last summer, and the onion aroma that greeted me at the front door was the smell of my shallots, literally, cooking under the glass.

Standing on a rake doesn’t just happen in comic strips and silent movies. And yes, it does hurt. Particularly if you’re the same height as the rake and it smacks you right on the face.

Don’t call in at the allotment on the way back from somewhere, in smart clothes, thinking, ‘I’ll just pick something up for tea’. You won’t. There’ll be the weeds you spot that need pulling out, sweet peas that need tying in and before you know it you’re covered in mud and are those blackberry stains on your sleeve?

Heleniums bringing a touch of heat to the garden

Heleniums bringing a touch of heat to the garden

The time you think you’ll spend on the plot, at any given time, is always a massive under-estimation of the time you’ll actually spend there. I either need to become more disciplined or adjust other commitments accordingly, so that people aren’t greeted by a slightly frazzled, dishevelled and soil encrusted individual shoving a basket of vegetables at them as I disappear off, desperate for the loo.

No matter how well I plan for a visit to the plot, with lists and post-it notes I will always forget to take something vital with me. With no shed for storage there, I increasingly look like a pack mule with my bucket for cut flowers, my trug for vegetables and a collection of containers for the harvest of various soft fruits. A bag with suncream, sun hat, raincoat, hat, scarf (delete depending on weather), tissues, my mobile, gardening gloves and the various tools such as trowel, snips, plant labels, pencil and twine that I don’t leave up there. Add in a camera for some quick shots and the liquid seaweed, possibly some fleece or netting. Well you get the picture.

Maybe it’s just me. I do hope not.

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