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Aches, pains and peonies

The arrival of Spring means a lot of jobs in the garden and with that I have found come a lot of aches and pains.  For me it is my lower back, neck and shoulders that feel it, particularly when I have done a few hours of one job at a time! This week I have been thinking about what I can do to stay fit and healthy over the growing season. It is easy to get comfy over the winter, stay indoors, eat nice food and get out of the way of looking after yourself.  I am also quite bad for not bothering to exercise if I have done a lot of gardening. I feel tired out from that and think that was my exercise for the day! Maybe if I exercised as well that would stretch out these aching muscles.

I have also been inspired by a lot of the women in my local town who are currently in training for biking events such as Tour  O’ the Borders and Skinny Tweed and while I am no biker I do enjoy sports and outdoor activities. By doing these on a bit more of a regular basis I am hoping it will help me with my gardening fitness! I enjoy swimming each week and stretches with my exercise DVD’s at the end of the day should help too.

I also wanted to share some tips I have come across this week which will hopefully help me and maybe you as well to enjoy gardening without over doing it! Setting modest goals is a great place to start. So not trying to pack all gardening jobs into the few hours you have at a weekend! I know I do this, especially if the girls are occupied playing nicely for a while and I race around doing as much as I can before the first quarrel! Or if the weather suddenly decides to be nice I will get out and beaver away before the next rain shower.

You can make things easier for yourself by using long handled tools, gardening in pots and raised beds and using kneeling pads if you have to kneel to weed. Switching activities and changing your position often should help too.  If you are gardening for a while, take breaks and use these to stretch. When muscles begin to ache that is your body telling you to have a break and stop. I need to listen to that particular piece of advice!

I hope I can remember all these things next time I am out in the garden before I get carried away. I wonder what you do to look after yourself when you spend a lot of time gardening?

Talking of getting carried away I did give in to temptation and bought 3 peonies! So many people have recommended them and I know they take a few years to establish themselves. So I bit the bullet and have bought a ‘Monsieur Jules Elie’, ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ and ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ which are potted up and waiting to go outside in a few weeks. I can’t wait to see them flower and have a feeling I will come to love them just as much as my roses!


Also this week seeds are germinating on a daily basis and causing much excitement as I pop into the conservatory to see what has emerged. Particularly exciting for me this week was the appearance of my eryngium seedlings as I had really struggled with these previously. Disappointingly I still can’t get my delphiniums, astrantia and alstroemeria seeds to germinate but I am determined to persevere and will keep trying!

It has been a cold March and even this week again there has been a fresh covering of snow on the hills. There have also been some very windy days. The fleece tunnels covering some of the plants outdoors have ripped again with the force of the gales. Whilst not ideal they are an economical way of me providing some protection to my young plants. So I will continue to patch them up for just now and continue to dream of a polytunnel!

I am looking forward to April and the promise of some calmer days with a bit of warmth in the sun to bring on all these tulips and daffodils. I wonder how far along your gardens are this week?

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