Gardening is one of the UK’s most beloved pastimes.
To quote the English poet Francis Bacon, ‘a garden is the purest of human pleasures’, and there is no doubt that he was correct in his affirmation.
Research undertaken by mental health charity Mind and the University of Essex shows spending time outdoors doing gentle exercise boosts confidence and improves personal wellbeing. So, if you are a budding gardener looking to benefit from the healing effects of gardening, here are my 10 essentials.
Ten Gardening Essentials
Blisters are commonplace for gardeners - as are prickly bushes. Protecting your hands is a really good place to start and will enable you to keep working for longer. The choice of gloves can be overwhelming. So take the time to try on different styles and sizes, to find the perfect fit for you. If you suffer from mobility or joint problems you can buy specially designed gloves which allow extra movement and help with grip. One good tip is to buy brightly coloured gloves so they are easy to find if you put them down in the garden!
2. Fork and Spade
Gardening is a gentle exercise, but there are aspects that are more strenuous. Digging and turning soil takes time and effort, so making sure you have the right tools is important. The right size of fork and spade can make the job easier.
3. Kneeler/Knee Pads
Some of the work you do will be on your hands and knees, so protecting your joints is important. Choose the right option for you from a pad or kneeler, plenty of padding will make the rough ground a little more comfortable.
For close up work, planting new bulbs and repotting plants you need a trowel. It’s handy for both weeding and digging in awkward places. Choose a good quality tool, as this will be one garden implement you will continue to use. Buying a cheap trowel is often a false economy, so buy the best tool you can afford. Check out the many reviews online, where other gardeners have done the testing for you!
5. Hose/Watering Can
Although we seem to get more than our fair share of rain in the UK, at some point you’ll have to give mother-nature a hand by watering your pots, tubs and newly planted items. Buying a watering can may sound like a simple task, there are things you need to consider. You should look for a good quality watering can that’s easy to hold and carry. If you’re going to be watering hanging baskets or raised beds go for a model with a long spout. For seedlings make sure you buy a can with a detachable ‘rose’ so you can control the flow of water and avoid swamping them whilst they’re fragile.
6. Pruning Shears/Secateurs
Taking cuttings and pruning helps to maintain plant health and shape the look and feel of your garden. For certain breeds of plants and bushes you may require shears as the branches may be too thick for secateurs.
7. Lawn Mower
If you have a lawn then a mower is an essential. You need to choose the right model for your space. Lawn maintenance has become an art in its own right. Choosing the right mower ensures that the lawn stays healthy. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) outlines all the things you need to think about including recommendations on the frequency of mowing depending on the time of year.
It’s important to keep your tools in tip-top condition, so always clean them after use. Remove sap and resin from shears and secateurs by using a drop of white spirit on a rag, scraping any stubborn stains with the nail of your thumb. Give the blades a squirt of WD-40 for good measure before stowing away safely. Once a year, give any wooden handled tools a rub down with linseed oil. This will keep the wood supple and helps prevent splitting.
Storage is an important consideration, particularly if you purchase lots of tools. You need to think about ease of access and whether they are safely out of the way. This should reduce the chances of accidentally knocking them and creating unintentional hazards.
You may also want to consider a greenhouse if space isn’t at a premium. These are perfect places to cultivate your cuttings, grow your own fruits and certain types of vegetables. However, it’s not a place to store your tools, as they will be visible through the glass.
10. Home Insurance
At NFU Mutual, we recognise that all homes and gardens are unique, that's why we take the time to get to know you and your home, offering home insurance tailored to your needs.