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Gardening in retirement -

Tips & wellbeing

What a difference a little warm weather makes! Although Spring has been so late this year, my garden is starting to grow…especially the weeds. Why is it that they grow so well, even with the cold and lack of rain? But at least my tomatoes and runner beans are starting to grow too. The trouble is, I'm spending so many hours bending over to do the weeding and digging, that I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever stand up straight again. It is important to remember that we cannot do the things we used to be able to do when we were 20! Or maybe we can still do them, just not for so long. Gardening is a very healthy pastime, though, if you enjoy it. Lots of different bending, stretching and lifting…all while outside in the fresh air. But when we have been sitting indoors through the winter, we need to get our muscles used to working harder again, so we don't sprain something.

It is also surprising how much you can catch the sun without realising it when you are concentrating on a patch of garden. I have just spent the weekend outside and, although it was not very hot or sunny, I have managed to get some pink skin round my neck and hands. It's not just for a two-week holiday abroad that we need to sunscreen. Quite a short time in a sunny, but breezy, garden can mean sore skin and we often don't realise that we are catching the sun at this time of year because it is not that hot. Better to be safe than sorry, though, and put on some skin protection and a hat.

There are many gadgets available now to help with the garden chores and all sorts of sprays to keep the bugs at bay….but, please remember to be careful if you use weed-killer or bug spray - as the chemicals can be just as dangerous to you, if you accidentally get some on your skin or swallow some. This is even more important if you have grandchildren helping you in the garden. I rarely wear gloves when I garden, but I always make sure to wear them now if I'm using any sprays. I prefer not to use bug-guns, but didn't have any trouble zapping the weeds - until I managed to get a lot of spray on my hand. I was holding some plants out of harms way, while I sprayed the weeds underneath and missed! I suffered for a day with a bad headache. Maybe it was coincidence, but I prefer to take better care now. And swallowing some is not so difficult if you have a partner that brings you tea and biscuits while you're working. If you have some spray on your hands, then pick up a biscuit and eat it!

And talking of tea & biscuits - I don't have any spare cash to spend on a new coffee table for the garden, but I managed to get a large wooden drum that had been used for storing cable. I stained it with the same preservative as my fences and laid it on one side. It gives a large enough surface for several cups of tea and a plate of biscuits!



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