Little and often works for me…

….when it comes to gardening. Time was when I’d set aside the only Sunday I could spare for weeks, then spend so long bent over a hot trowel that it was almost impossible to straighten up. No more! I work from home these days and, unless it’s pouring with rain, allow myself two 15-minutes sessions a day, focusing on just one plant or one task, to keep on top of it all. Do try this – it works really well.

Mind you, when I work in the garden, it’s on the garden. I quickly realised that writing outdoors is impossible: lifting my head from the page in search of inspiration brings on an acute attack of secateuritis. My fingers begin to tingle then my wrist starts to twitch, because when I stare into the middle distance, the one plant in the entire garden that needs dead-heading catches my eye. Better do it right away!

It won’t take a moment… 

 …and it doesn’t; but it wasn’t the one plant in the entire – well, you get my drift. As I head back to my work (my paid work, that is) I see another. And a branch that needs pruning. Better do it now, while my eye’s ‘in’!

If I lower my eyes, there’s a weed right before them. No gardener can ignore that: we know how quickly they spread. Better yank it out!

Unfortunately, my eye is now really and truly ‘in’ – so I spot blackspot on one of the roses. Better check the rest!

Taking a closer look is the biggest mistake I can make, for my travel-writing assignment, that is, not for the roses – which, as well as having blackspot, are covered in greenfly. Better spray them immediately!

I put down the secateurs – it’s a chance to escape, but I don’t take it. I head for the shed instead, unleash the spray-gun and soak the roses so thoroughly that spray runs back down my arms and soaks my sleeves, and even my feet. I’ll have to go and change. Better shower first!

Actually, it’s a nice afternoon for gardening – if it wasn’t, I‘d be working indoors. I might as well carry on, and shower later. I’ll finish writing my feature tomorrow. Indoors.

Reader, this doesn’t happen now; when I work in the garden, it’s on the garden, for half an hour a day. Secateuritis? Haven’t had an attack for years!

Pat Richardson has many years experience as a travel writer including 16 years as Travel Editor on Best Magazine. She has since turned freelance and writes mainly for the Daily Telegraph’s Escorted Travel and Cruise Supplements. As well as tending her own delightful Kew garden, she runs www.perfectlyworded.co.uk, a writing and editing service and consultancy, and www.HotelsThatWereNot.com, a website showcasing properties with a past.
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