Sunday 15 October is Garden Day. Garden Day is on a Sunday in the middle of October and is a day to invite friends and family to spend time in your garden. You get to sit back and relax and enjoy all your hard work!
Gardening is a wonderful way of escaping our busy lives and enjoying the outdoors. It is also a good way to keep healthy and active. To make sure that it is a pleasant experience and not a painful one, here are some tips:
1.) Make sure you stay well hydrated when working in the garden. Keep a jug of water close by and drink often.
2.) Apply sunscreen and remember to reapply as necessary. Use a wide brimmed sun hat and also use sun glasses.
3.) If you are spraying your plants with any chemicals you must use protective eye wear and a mask.
4.) It is very tempting to do all your pruning and planting in one go, but spending hours hunched over planting can cause back pain. Pruning for hours on end can also cause wrist and elbow pain. Alternate your activities so that you don’t overload your joints and muscles. I find the easiest way of doing this is to choose a flower bed that needs some attention. I then cut back whatever needs to be cut in that area, stake and tie back plants that need support etc. This is an easy way of rotating tasks instead of pruning all the trees, planting all the flower beds, or staking all the plants.
5.) Invest in the best pair of secateurs you can afford. The cheap and nasty ones are usually heavy and stiffer to operate. This can cause quite a bit of thumb, wrist and elbow pain. Clean your secateurs after each use to keep the mechanism working well. If you suffer with thumb, wrist or elbow pain there are a variety of splints on the market than can really help. Just buy a size up in your gardening gloves and fit the gloves over the splint. Night splints for resting stiff and painful hand joints are also extremely helpful. Speak to your physiotherapist for advice.
6.) A kneeling mat can be helpful if you have painful knees.
7.) Don’t get overwhelmed by needing to weed the whole garden etc. I go into my garden each day even if it is only for 5 minutes. On my way to the garage each morning I pull out weeds in the pathway. In the evening when I take my dog out before going to bed, I deadhead the roses. I usually tie back my fuchsias when I am home from work and just winding down and spending a few minutes in the garden. With the water restrictions, I keep a bucket in my kitchen and fill it with any water from boiling or washing vegetables. I use this water to water my pots on the veranda. Most of us are quite sedentary during the day at work. My garden gives me plenty of opportunity to move when I am home from work. Whether it is bending down to pick the weeds or stretching up to fill the bird feeder, gardening is a great way of incorporating activity and movement into your day.
Enjoy your day in your garden. Walk barefoot on the grass, look at the bees and the butterflies and listen to the birds. Choose to ignore the weeds on Sunday. As we create beauty and tranquility in our gardens, may we create that too in our homes, places of work, and in our country.