Gardeners Diary

Well, Crufts is over for another year and Easter is almost upon us, so it is now time to get going in the garden again.

Last year my garden was badly neglected due to my hip pain but now, having had a very successful hip replacement, I am ready to get going again.

That said, I am mindful that last year’s relative inactivity has left my muscles very unused to hard work and in particular gardening, so I am trying to be very careful and pace myself.  It is very hard to see all the work that needs to be done and still give myself permission to leave it until another time.  However that is what I know I have to do.

Recently, I pushed myself a little too hard and ended up virtually unable to move and in excruciating pain.  Thankfully, after a few visits to my McTimoney chiropractor and a little time, things are now back to normal, but the incident reminded me that I am fallible and need to be careful.

So,Natures Kiss what was on the list of jobs that I am approaching this weekend?  I had already removed last year’s leaves from some of my hellebores, but I had to finish off the others.  I then cut my miscanthus to the ground, pruned my roses and cut the late flowering clematis back.

Now, my garden rubbish bags are full so I had to stop.  The next step is to indulge my back with a Nature’s Kiss massage!

I feel really bad that I haven’t posted for some time.  The truth is that I have hardly been out in the garden and so have had no inspiration :(.  This is because I have become increasingly incapacitated by hip pain.

Cup HolderWell, tomorrow is the date for my second hip replacement, so normal service should be resumed early next year as I become fit enough to garden again.

I have however found a number of ways of coping with hip pain which I have detailed in a focused website – 

Probably the tip that I am most proud of is my solution for the eternal problem of how to carry things (drinks in particular) when you have crutches.

This weekend, I decided that now was the time for a very late (by 2 months) Chelsea Chop.  As you may be aware, Anya loves to grab a piece of plant material and race off with it.  This was therefore a possible recipe for her to have great fun.  However, I have been working on the problem with her and I seem to have made a major break through.

So, how have I done this?  By introducing Anya to my new favourite gardening tool – a trug.  Many of you may well use these anyway to carry removed plant material to your compost bin or otherwise dispose of it.  I certainly had, but I had never through of it as a way of stopping Anya from playing the unwanted game of stealing plant material.

You may be aware of the concept of “Owning your Garden“.  The trug just helps me concentrate this principle into a very focused location.  I started by putting a few twigs at the bottom of the trug.  When Anya showed interest in them, I used the Ouch command.  When she moved away from the trug, I rewarded her with a treat.  Once Anya showed that she had started to understand that the trug was mine, I put more plant material in the trug and repeated the same exercise.


We  have now reached the stage where I can have long branches sticking out of the trug and Anya understands that anything in the trug is mine and she won’t steal them.  This picture is not staged.  She was not put in a sit stay beside the trug.  I just happened to notice her sitting by the trug taking absolutely no interest in its contents.

So we seem to have found a method by which I can have Anya out in the garden and do large amounts of tidying.  Make no mistake, if I put even the smallest amount of plant material on the ground, it would immediately be picked up and paraded around the garden as a trophy.  However, she seems to understand that if something is in the trug it is MINE!

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