Danger! Gardening Ahead

The garden is a dangerous place.

I know. I have been hurt. And at this time of year, when we all spring into action after a few months hibernating in front of the telly on our favourite fusty old chair, more of us will fall foul of pulls, strains, cuts and - not to be too dramatic - electrocution. I did warn you. Readers of a sensitive nature should look away now. 

First of all, let’s get that old comedy standard 'rake in the face' out of the way. It does happen – I've been knocked on the side of the head by stepping on the head of rake. Easy done but thankfully no one was around to see it. Putting the rake away correctly is the answer – head up or definitely prongs away from where you walk. And don't leave them lying on the soil or lawn. Just don't.

Compost is terrifying. The bagged stuff for your seedlings and pots, if picked up incorrectly, can cause pulled muscles. I haven't done it with compost but have with a big bag of daffodil bulbs (same kind of weight). Someone passed me the bag and placed it into my outstretched arms. I turned, my arms stayed where they were as my body twisted and, I'll be honest, I couldn't breath properly for a month. A torn muscle or something. Take it easy when lifting anything heavy (our compost bags are 15 litres so are OK for most people – to be honest, Barry in our warehouse can't manage anything heavier (calm down Barry- only joking!). Bend your knees. Good advice generally really.

Then of course you get into the big stuff like lawnmowers. Never don your flip flops to mow the lawn. Or, even worse, do it barefoot. My former neighbour did. All I'll say is that his glittering tightrope walking career was over from that minute on.

I've had tanglings with hedge-trimmers over the years. Mine's an electric model and I have to admit that I'm indebted to the residual current devices everything is wired through. Yep, I've cut through the cable and then stared at the air gap wondering why it wasn't working. Four times in total (twice in the same hour once). Don't rush.

Only the other week I did a banana skin style skid on a mossy path in the garden.

I have fallen off a ladder when it slipped on wet paving after I thought that footing it wasn't so important. I've strained my voice screeching when a dead mouse fell on my head when pulling some errant wisteria shoots away from the house.

I've also spilt concentrated weed killer on the lawn turning a disconcertingly large patch straw coloured (it is growing back) and plunged a stainless steel garden fork into my own foot when winter digging. I've nearly speared my youngest son’s fingers unearthing potatoes as he scrabbled around for the tubers in true truffle pig style. A near miss. Did I mention I dropped a paving slab on my foot once causing massive bruising and a cracked slab? I have now.

But chatting to a friend who works in a local A&E department of a large hospital, my incidents are minor. He reckons he is treating more and more cases of broken bones in people who get rid of the safety nets around their garden trampolines. Why get rid of safety features?  However, the most 'popular' injury is caused by people who actually stand in their wheelie bins on top of the rubbish or green waste to compress it all down and topple over. Now who on earth would do that?