Green fingers, I never thought I'd get them

But with a garden (and a weak immune system) to tend, it seems I've caught the bug

Share

Gardening used to be something that happened to other people. My grandma, my in-laws and my neighbours were all afflicted with green fingers, while I simply saw outside space as something to sit and drink gin in when the sun came out. The grass is a bit long? Just makes it more comfortable. The flower beds are full of weeds? Well, at least something’s growing.

Since moving into my flat nine years ago, I’ve had an annual bout of lawn-mowing, staggering around the shared garden in the wake of an elderly Flymo and doing more damage to its cable than the tufty lawn. Other than that, I happily let my neighbours suffer, thinking I was immune.

But I’ve recently started to have some gardening symptoms. I won’t lie - they kicked in when the lovely chap who lived upstairs (and used the keep the garden in check) passed away. I didn’t want his widow to think that I was uncaring (I’m not) and lazy (I am) so I made my peace with the Flymo, and, starting with homeopathic doses, I’ve started to do some weeding and planting. I have, for the first time in my life, felt the physical aftereffects of digging, hauling and raking. And I’ve found I rather like them.

I don’t want to pretend that my case is more serious that it is, though. I’m not yet at the terminal stage, as exhibited by one ex-colleague. He used to write a column that I was in charge of putting on the page. For three years on the trot he wrote a column about the joy of the heritage seed catalogue dropping through his letterbox. One year, rare-breed tomatoes got the love, the next, I seem to recall, he rhapsodied about spuds, before he moved on to raving about cabbages. Then I rolled my eyes. But writers in glass (green?) houses shouldn’t throw stones - now, I’m increasingly keen to remember what the bloody catalogue was called. I feel an itch that only planting some endangered endive can scratch.

I’d love to pretend that what I’m doing is guerilla gardening - tarting up roundabouts in the middle of the night with flowers, covering statues of Churchill with turf mohicans - but it’s not. I’m doing old giffer gardening. I’ve caught the gardening bug because I’m growing older. What can I say? My immune system is weakened, and an afternoon gently prodding the lawn makes me feel better. Seeing things grow, trying to do a bit of alfresco tidying up, then having a sit-down that feels well-earned - these are a tonic. Although speaking of tonic, a G&T certainly helps with the raking. I may have diagnosed myself with green fingers, but there’s life in me yet.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The campaigning is over. So now we wait...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
In this handout provided by NASA from the the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, weather system Arthur travels up the east coast of the United States in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida in space. The robotic arm of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2 is seen at upper right. According to reports, Arthur has begun moving steadily northward at around 5 kt. and the tropical storm is expected to strike the North Carolina Outer Banks  

Thanks to government investment, commercial space travel is becoming a reality

Richard Branson
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week