Deborah Ross: Winter is not the time to fret about pruning

If you ask me...

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If you ask me, Rachel Johnson's article in this month's Vogue on "tidying up" her "lady garden" and having her first Brazilian bikini wax was a shocker even if you only thought, as I did: What? In February? Seriously? On top of everything else, we now have to conscientiously tend to our "lady gardens" all year round? Should we also sleep with one eye open, in case anything untoward sprouts at 3am? Should I acquire a Labrador, trained to bark at the first sign of a wisp?

How can this be so? How is it even fair? I'd always assumed depilation was allowed the winter off; that it was even written into its contract. Indeed, why else did it buy into that time-share in Florida? I certainly think if depilation had known it would be expected to work non-stop it would have chosen a different profession, like teaching. Or, as the National Depilation Council (UK) puts it: "Our members are utterly exhausted from being on call at all times and would ask if women could try to loathe the natural state of their bodies a little less, if only from November until, say, April. Those condos don't come cheap, as you can imagine."

Oh, lady gardens, and what a bother they now are. It's not like you can let them run wild anymore, or even leave them for a few months to see what comes up in the spring. (You never know. You may discover a lavender you never knew you had). So it's Brazilians and Hollywoods and "landing strips" – can anyone land?; can Michael Winner swoop down in his private jet? – and even topiarising with electric trimmers that come with stencils of hearts, stars and "this way" arrows but not, alas, the Taj Mahal or Whistler's Mother, both of which would be quite something.

OK, I can see that, in the summer, you may need to potter around your lady garden a bit, lightly pruning and clipping your "privet parts" so you don't arrive on the beach looking as if Brian Blessed is trying to climb out of your bikini bottoms. But the rest of the year, can't we be allowed to think of other things? I don't actually know the answer to that, but I do know this: Never let Alan Titchmarsh at your lady garden or, before you know it, he'll have installed two water features and a great deal of decking of the kind that attracts rats. Plus, he may jump out from the side return and go: "Surprise!" You may even want to put a sign up in your lady garden saying: "Out, Alan. Out."

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