I read an excellent article by Julian Rollins in the Guardian this week. He described how he has ditched his garden power tools and now enjoys a peaceful ‘go-slow’ method of gardening – clipping, sawing and trimming by hand.
I suppose this might only work if, like me, you have a relatively small garden and like to spend a lot of time in it. I dislike the noise that power tools make, drowning bird song and trailing self-tangling electric cables in their wake. I have just one, a rechargeable GTech lawnmower that I do like because it has no cable and is fairly light and quick to use. But it’s days are numbered – I have plans to rip up the lawn and turn over the whole garden to borders with a long, winding path and plenty of seats.
As for all those petrol-guzzling leaf blowers that have thankfully been put away for another year – what’s wrong with using a light plastic rake? A quick ten minutes with one of those will get my heart rate up before tackling more sedentary tasks, and makes me nice and warm too. I don’t do it all at once – returning to energetic work after doing something more sedentary prevents excessive strain on well- used muscle groups and provides variety.
Apart from giving me good exercise and enjoying the uninterrupted sound of my goldfinches’ happy twitterings, there is a joy to being able to concentrate on little but the job in hand – be it pruning and shaping, weeding or trimming – other thoughts may come and go, but the pleasure of focusing on the task in hand is very therapeutic.
Julian Rollins is an author and journalist who specialises in the environment, conservation and rural affairs.