Saturday, 5 May 2018

Are You Green-fingered or a Clueless Gardener?

Above is a photo of my back garden. It looks lovely when the blossom is out on my apple tree, but actually the flowerbeds are a jungle. I don't get enough time to make it look tidy, but I also feel a little guilty every time I uproot a living plant - even if it is threatening to turn into Audrey II. Yes, I know a witch should be a wonderful gardener, but I'm not as good at it as many of my witchy friends.

Mind you, it seems I'm not alone. The results of a recent survey I came across revealed many of us lack the necessary skills when it comes to our outdoor spaces. Researchers found that killing grass with paddling pools and trampolines, cutting through cable on lawn mowers and killing plants by overwatering them, are among the common  mistakes we are set to fall victim to when many of us get busy in the garden this month.

The poll found nearly one in 20  gardeners have managed to kill off fish in their pond, while one in 10 have blown off the petals from their flowers from excessive power washing. A quarter of the 1,500 homeowners surveyed by garden tool company Fiskars said their dog had ruined their grass and shrubs by peeing all over them.

Our children running riot in the garden (11 percent), a lack of knowledge (18 percent) and not having the right equipment (17 percent) emerged as the reasons we don’t have pristine gardens – with 18 percent saying they wish they had new garden tools to help them get their outdoor spaces in shape.

The research revealed the average person in Britain will spend £447 this year on their outdoor space. However, like me, 15 percent have rusty and unloved garden tools propped up against the garden fence, while 7 percent of us have an old lawn mower slowly rusting in a forgotten corner of the garden.

Despite the disasters, 57 percent of Brits rate their gardening skills as good, compared to 23 percent who say they lack knowledge when it comes to looking after their outdoor space.

More than one in five (21 percent) said they don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to tending to their garden, while 9 percent said they simply don’t know the difference between flowers and weeds. The poll found over one in five of us have dead pot plants scattered around the garden, while 22 percent said their patio is covered in unsightly weeds.

Botanist and broadcaster James Wong, comments: “Some of the gardening mishaps that Brits have encountered can happen to the most experienced of horticulturists.

“Cutting through the cable on a mower or hedge trimmer is easily done and it’s amazing to see how quickly grass can deteriorate when covered with a paddling pool or trampoline.With the weather improving, millions of Brits will be tackling their gardens and it’s important to have the right equipment for the job and to not be put off by a few failures.

“I have gardening disasters all the time and the wonderful thing about gardening is that there are no real ‘mistakes’, only ‘experiments’. Some of my proudest gardening moments have come out of the most spectacular failures - you just have to pick yourself up and start again.

“Want to know the secret to having a green thumb? Persistence. And, of course, having great garden tools to help you tackle the job at hand."

A spokesperson from Fiskars said: “When it comes to gardening, everyone has to start somewhere and what’s really important is creating a space you are proud of and enjoy.”

Yet given our lack of gardening know-how, 73 percent of those polled said their outdoor space was quite or very important to them. The average Brit spends 12 hours a week out in their garden during the summer months and as many as 85 percent of us are determined to roll up our sleeves and get outdoors.

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