So what do you wear when you’re gardening or at the allotment? Are you like Alan Titchmarsh wearing jeans, a jumper and boots? Do you emulate Monty Don and his intriguing uniform of blue shirt come smock? I always wondered where he got them from until I came across an ironmongers in Ludlow that had some in stock and wondered whether this was his source. Maybe you manage to garden in a skirt a la Sarah Raven and Alys Fowler or with funky, chunky scarves like Carol Klein.
Me . . . . well I like to think of my gardening attire as ‘scruffbag chic’. I’m messy at the best of times, although not on a par with Wellyman whose record is 2 minutes wearing a clean shirt before food ended up on it. Put me somewhere with soil, tomato feed and flower pollen and there really is no point wearing anything that is considered ‘good’. I’d love to look half as elegant as Rachel de Thame does in her Barbours, even when she’s digging up an enormous shrub. But it isn’t to be.
You will find me in jeans that are paint splattered and holey, teemed with Wellyman’s jumpers that have shrunk in the wash and an oversized fleece which has splatters of ‘Wild Thyme’ paint on it from painting the fence last year. Of course, there are my trusty green wellies but even these are looking past their best and have traces of paint on them. I told you I was messy.
The thing is I actually quite like the opportunity to not have to worry about how I look. It makes a refreshing change when there is so much focus on fake tans, designer clothes and botox everywhere you look now. A woman did turn up at the plot last year in big ‘Posh Spice’ style sunglasses, smart dark jeans and pristine black wellies. She planted up some strawberries and then I never saw her again. Allotments really aren’t the place to be precious about appearances. As I found out early on when I was caught in a torrential downpour. With nowhere to shelter on the plot, I tidied up and set off for home. By the time I got there I was completely drenched, hair plastered to my head, rivers of water running down my face and soaked right through. I got some strange looks from people as they drove past in their cars cocooned from the elements.
Fortunately, there was nobody about the other day to witness my trouser incident. Having decided to go to the plot I got changed into my scruffs. One pair of jeans had a hole in the crotch and were waiting to be patched up, my other pair had a gaping hole in the thigh and it was cold and I didn’t want a draught. After some digging around in a drawer I found another pair, got changed and wandered up to the allotment. Now these jeans normally need a belt but when I had put them on they had felt fine. I just thought that I might need to do a bit more exercise after Christmas excesses, so I didn’t bother with the belt. However, after 10 minutes or so of bending and digging something didn’t feel quite right. It was then I discovered the jeans had slipped right down and I was now displaying my knickers to the world, like some teenage boy in his deliberately saggy trousers. I am just so grateful it was January and I was alone with my embarrassment and that my oversized fleece pulled down as far as it would go protected my modesty on the walk home. Note to self, those jeans need a belt next time.