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"How to Maximize Your Garden's Potential: Tips for Gardening Smarter, Not Harder"

I find looking after Hostas very therapeutic. Whenever I am with my Hostas, I am at my most relaxed. However, some tasks in the garden can be looked upon as maybe stressful, or difficult. Gardening and especially looking after Hostas, should be fun, not a task. By changing some of the little things you do or the way you do it, it could be so much easier, and much more fun. Put the fun back into gardening. Work smarter, not harder!

Let’s have a look at some of the ways you can make your gardening more fun and easier to do.


Tree fern And Hostas Fortunei Aureomarginata  & Hosta Patriot
Hosta Fortunei Aureomarginata & Hosta Patriot

Loosening up


If you are anything like me, you are a little bit stiff when you first go outdoors. Why not try a little stretching of the muscles before you start. Perhaps you could do a little 'pottering'. It doesn’t need to be a lot. You’re not running a marathon. This will loosen those tight muscles, that are just cold. If you’re up for improving your flexibility, why not try a little Yoga or something similar.



wheelbarrow cartoon

Lifting & Bending


If you can’t manage to lift it, leave it for someone, younger, fitter and healthier than you! Don’t even try yourself.

If you must do any lifting, particularly of heavy objects, it should be done by bending at the knees, not your back. Hold the lifted items as close to your body as you can.


bags of compost

Imagine, you have just popped into the garden centre to buy a bag or two of compost, for potting up your Hostas, or garden manure. They are not exactly light. Oh no! You are still in your work suit. You would be! You’ve just left the office and called in, on the way home. What do you do? You pick the bags up and hold them away from your clean suit. You didn’t want to get dirty. This risks a bad back, right there. It’s like an elastic band just going twang. You will be off work a long time, or at the very least, be in a lot of pain. There was something you could have done… preparation.


Keep and old shirt, jumper or jacket, in the boot of the car. You can put these on to prevent your posh suit getting mucky. Maybe a pair of old shoes to stop those brogue’s getting mucky too. A simple thing to do, but it works.

You could, of course, just ask for help. Most places will assist with the heavy (and dirty) lifting. Don’t be embarrassed, that’s why they’re there.

You could always decide to leave it, and go back another time, in appropriately suitable clothes.


Avoid unnecessary twisting. Instead of shovelling soil or compost by digging and twisting to empty the shovel, move your feet instead.

When raking, don’t reach. Keep the centre of gravity and movement close to your body. Move to the task – Don’t bring the task to you.


Avoid similar activities that take more than 30 minutes.

Give your body, a physical break. Do something different. Something that uses other muscles or parts of the body. Perhaps you could do some very light Hosta work, such as weeding your display pots? You can always come back to your first job later. You could even stop. Have a cuppa, and a sit down.

Enjoy looking at your Hostas. Most of us forget to simply enjoy the garden.


Occasionally, just choosing the right tools makes gardening a little easier.


Secateur’s


Selection Of Secateur's for all users
Selection Of Secateur's

Buy secateurs that fit your hand. When secateurs handles are expanded completely, they shouldn’t go past your first knuckle. Many brands offer secateurs for large and small hands and even for lefties. Make sure they are comfortable.


Long-handled tools


Sarah Raven Long Handled Tools
Sarah Raven Long Handled Tools


Rather than using standard size tools, there are many that are made with longer handles which means you don’t have to be as close, saving the bending & getting back up.


Save your knees





Make life for your knees much easier, with a pair of heavy-duty knee pads or a garden kneeler. If you really do need to get down on your knees, these will make it much more comfortable. Knee pads can be found in almost any garden centre. I have several. I can never find just one. They are so important. Save your back and your knees.

Use a small hand cart, or lightweight sack-trolley to lift those larger bags of compost, or fertilizer, to move them around your garden. Remember your posture when lifting. When using a trolley, get one with bigger wheels, preferably inflated with air, not solid tyres. Small wheels don’t roll well in difficult areas and solid wheels are much harder to pull or push.


Save walking


If you have mobility issues or find it difficult to walk well, you can use a wheelchair, or rollator, designed especially for gardening. They work well on paving & tarmac, but not on all surfaces. Take a test drive first. Try them out before you buy. Not all of them are suitable, particularly with gravel paths, grass or mulch.



Wheelbarrow full of empty Hosta Pots

 

Wheelbarrows should be suitable for you. Don’t buy one that is too big. Again, inflatable tyres are a must. Don’t fill the barrow to maximum. Make more journeys with a smaller load. A heavy load can cause issues. More walking is good for you, if it’s possible.


Help yourself to help others.

Get yourself a friend to work with you. Start an exchange program. Offer to work on their project this week and next week you both work on yours. It’s amazing how much faster the work proceeds when you garden with friends. Some of your work may be a lot easier with two people, such as lifting.


Stone Built Raised Hosta Bed for easy maintenance
Stone Built Raised Hosta Bed

One of the most common assists, in gardens, to help make lighter work, is to have a number of raised beds. The bed above is made from stone, and is perfect for Hostas, both for you to look at, or work with. These can be built from many materials, like timber, stone, blockwork, brick etc. The main purpose is to have your working level at a suitable height, rather than have to bend down to the ground, and struggle to get back up. Often used in sensory gardens so people can easily touch, see & smell the plants.

Having suitable working levels is for everyone, regardless of age or ability. It makes life an awful lot easier, not harder.


One of the biggest dislikes for most people, in the garden, is having to go out and pull out all the weeds that grow in between your Hostas and other plants. You will always have to bend down to get them out and it can be a very physical thing, to have to do.

Lets stop the weeds coming up in the first place. Get someone to put down a physical barrier such as a membrane, commonly known as Terran. This will stop most weeds emerging and make your life a lot easier. It doesn't always look very pretty so you would normally cover it, with a mulch.

We use a mulch of bark, around our planted Hostas. We often find that if the mulch is thick enough 2"-3" deep, it will deter most weeds. These beds need very little maintenance for a few years, at least. There are many brands of mulch that can be used, but they can often be costly. Why not shred your own branches, when pruning, or rot down fallen leaves to produce leaf mould. Use your own compost! You don't always have to buy a mulch.


Even if you try just one of these 'working smarter not harder' techniques, you will be happier.

 

Stay wise & stay healthy. Remember as you get older your body’s maintenance team takes longer breaks. Maybe you should do the same. Listen to your body.

 

Work safe, work happy, work smarter not harder.



Shop for Hostas HERE






 

John Plant

Rewela Hostas


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