Gardeners are members of an extreme sport - they never give up, whatever the conditions
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Gardeners are members of an extreme sport - they never give up, whatever the conditions

GARDENERS are members of an extreme sport.

I say this because whilst conditions in December are never great, many continue to work in atrocious conditions.

Even in the depths of winter they continue to sow seeds, take cuttings, plant trees, even mow the lawn.

Rain, apart altogether from cold and wind, never seems to put them off.

Like other outdoor extreme sports, rain gardening requires skill and a battery of tricks.

The dangers are real; some soils are ruined by working them wet, and rain also spreads horrid diseases such as phytophthora.

This is the fungal infection which kills many varieties of hedging, and aged trees. One should always stay well away from roses, tomatoes, potatoes, or other plants prone to fungus or blight during wet weather.

Their spores will cling to your wet clothes, and your designer wellies can become as loaded with contagion as a toddler’s kiss.

And if you have a runny nose, and you can’t get a decent wipe on a raincoat sleeve as your paper tissues fall to bits in the rain, use what professional and extreme gardeners prefer: cotton hankies.

They were never cheaper than now.

But for all the wet and discomfort, there’s wisdom to be learned from extreme gardening. You’ll come to realise that you belong in the rain.

After all, this is how your rattled spends its time; bathed in rain, hidden in the darkness, by wind, and frightened by the night creatures creeping around.

Can you really say you know your garden if you only celebrate its beauty and explore its boundaries when the sun is shining?

And if you love your garden the way all things are truly loved-fearlessly and intimately - you will cherish it more.

Finally, extreme gardening, like everything else, brings appreciation for the inordinate delights and secret thrills of a hobby pursued to its limits, even if these limits are the back fence and the front sidewalk.