Top tips for keeping that much loved Christmas plant alive. We've tested a plant sensor and mixed it up with some good old gardening knowledge...
It’s a dangerous world, out there in the garden. As it’s owner you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place (hopefully not literally as such features don’t tend to make for a very attractive garden).
On the one hand, you could leave your garden to go wild. But that option is fraught with dangers like hitting your head on low hanging branches, or being overcome by the urge to eat poisonous weeds instead of home-grown fruits and vegetables.
On the other hand, you could buy all the equipment you need. But gardening tools are all potentially dangerous weapons in the wrong hands. So here are our top tips for the equipment that you will need – and some top safety tips.
1.Pruning equipment – if you own any plants at all, you probably own some secateurs. But once you get into more serious gardening, you’ll need to consider loppers for thicker branches, cutting saws for even bigger ones.
Safety tip: these items are sharp. Be careful not to cut a finger off with the secateurs... or an arm with the loppers.
2. Spade – you’ll need this to dig your flower beds and vegetable beds. Invest in a good quality option; cheap versions won’t last more than a couple of years.
Safety tip: spades can dig holes. Be sure not to fall in.
3.Fork – this will help you to distribute mulch across flower beds quickly and evenly. Also great for breaking up heavy soil like clay.
Safety tip: a garden fork is much bigger than a standard fork. Don‘t eat your dinner with it, you might lose an eye.
4.Rake – Use for clearing up leaves in the autumn. Ideally ones that have already fallen off the tree.
Safety tip: hold the rake at the handle end. The head is... pointy.
5.Wheelbarrow – useful for collecting and transporting branches, weeds and other garden waste. And giving fun rides to your children.
Safety tip: don’t confuse branches and children. The latter don’t like being tipped out of a wheelbarrow at speed.
6.Ropes and bamboo stakes – these can be attached to walls, pergolas or stood in soil to help plants like roses and clematis to grow.
Safety tip: not suitable for encouraging child growth.
7.Buckets and pots – Always useful for planting, carrying water, seedlings... the options are endless. In addition, having a shed full of these makes you look more like a gardener.
Safety tip: prevent the urge to upturn these on your head. You won’t be able to see and might have an accident.
8.Lawn mower – for keeping your grass in check. Choose between a push-along and sit-on version.
Safety tip: No matter how unruly your hair is looking, a lawn mower is not a good alternative to clippers.
9.Plant spray – roses, fruit plants and even some evergreens may need to be sprayed against aphids. You can buy small bottles or larger versions with motor pumps.
Safety tip: point the nozzle away from you.
10.Trowel – many people are not aware that a trowel is the offspring of a spade and a spoon. Mainly because this isn’t true. Use a trowel for planting and digging holes.
Saftey tip: Seriously? It’s a trowel. You can’t get this one wrong.