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Notes from a Head Gardener ~ survival tips for fingertips 25/01/2019

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A selection of gloves for a selection of weather conditions is one way to stay jolly when one is outside for hours on end in the cold / heat / rain / mud. January can throw all of these at a gardener – sometimes within the space of a few hours.

Freezing fingertips are no fun for anyone and absolutely no use to the gardener tasked with pruning and training roses. The tiny jute knots that secure your thorny quarry are not compatible with useless pink digits encased in layers of leather.

If you are a lucky gardener and have a heated propagator nearby and if said propagator is switched on at a balmy 20c in order to germinate chilli pepper seeds, why not keep a spare pair or two of gloves alongside the seedlings on the heated base? When fingertips become achy with cold, simply swap cold gloves for warm ones and get back on out there to complete the winter task.

Not all winter jobs in the garden are fiddly ones. If all else fails and you are just too cold to have fun pruning, go and turn a compost heap by hand. I guarantee that you will warm up in no time. It is a task that is equal in satisfaction to winter pruning but with none of the head-scratching puzzlement of what to train where. It’s simply good old-fashioned shovelling and there’s nothing like it. Top tip: cold feet warm swiftly in a compost heap. Sink to ankle depth and feel the heat. Have you ever met an unhappy gardener? Didn’t think so.