'Love gardening? You're a liar'

Mowing the lawn
Mowing the lawn
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Columnist Steve Royle writes about hating gardening

If you say you love gardening you’re a liar. You may love the produce, you may love the pretty plants and flowers, you may even love the sense of satisfaction it brings, but no-one could possibly love the gruelling tasks that gardening brings.

I recently bought a new petrol lawn mower. It’s self-propelled but I still have to be there. The machine is much keener than I am when it comes to cutting the grass. It’s like taking an over-enthusiastic Great Dane for a walk. It drags me up and down the lawn as I desperately try to keep up.

Also, there is no feeling worse than realising you’ve mowed the lawn on too high a setting. I did that this week, over an hour I spent then noticed the wheels were way higher than they could have been which effectively means I’ll be mowing again in a couple of days.

I will accept that jet washing the patio is fun, in fact, jet washers should come with a Government health warning stating ‘may become addictive.’ Once you start you just can’t stop. You start on the flags and then soon find yourself advancing upwards to the walls, windows, guttering and facia boards. Having said that, whilst it cleans everything it touches it leaves the operator looking like a Jackson Pollock painting in various shades of grey and brown.

Another death trap in the garden is the strimmer. I’ve lost count of the number of times that machine has done me harm. Actually that’s a lie, I haven’t lost count because you can add them up using the marks on my legs. It either whips you itself or flings thistles and nettles in your direction. What makes the situation worse is that you have to wear earmuffs whilst operating it, this allows you to hear your own thoughts much clearer and those thoughts are usually (for me at least) ‘this machine is going to kill you.’

If the machinery doesn’t get you the plants will. Nettles, thorns and thistles can turn an ordinary garden into a veritable mine field. Of course you can wear protective clothing like special extra thick gloves but whilst they may help limit the number of scratches you get they turn your fingers into impractical sausages. Ever tried picking up a coin with a pair of gardening gloves? You’ve more chance of winning a cuddly toy on a fairground grab machine.

Even garden furniture can be painful. Whoever thought wicker is comfortable to sit on needs to have a word with themselves. If it doesn’t trap your skin you will not be able to escape a long sitting without those tell-tale ridges etched into your body. Of course you can use cushions but again this leads to more work as you have to build and dismantle each item of furniture at the start and end of the day.

My final point to settle my argument is this: Farmers are technically large scale gardeners. Have you ever met a happy farmer? I rest my case.