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‘What a gardener needs is a cast iron back with a hinge in it’ - Charles Dudley Warner

Brian was lying in the box hedging. “I think my boot is broken”, he wailed from the midst of the pungent greenery.

Feeling slightly nauseous, I saw the jaunty and unusual angle at which his foot was connected to his leg and thought to myself, ‘Shit. It’s not your shoe that’s broken’.

He had arrived ahead of our days work together some thirty minutes earlier with his obligatory, steel-toe-capped boots on, but his laces untied. At 50+ years of age, both he and I knew perfectly well how to tie them and I wasn’t going to offer or do it for him. Despite my request that he tie them - I nagged him twice in fact - he had chosen not to.

Presenting with a foot dangling and facing in reverse to his knee, he had tripped on the afore-nagged about laces, making a pretty comprehensive job of snapping it clean in two. To almost quote Kate Bush, I went running up that sizeable hill to find decent mobile reception and puffingly, if that’s even a word, called the ambulance.

That was the end of Brian’s gardening for many months to come.

NB This is not Brian above btw!

Gardening is proven to be a dangerous game. Eyes get poked, hedge cutters slice more than hedges, pyracantha pierces with vicious thorns. Sometimes things are hidden away and buried under the soil that definitely shouldn’t have been put there in the first place.

Accidents and injuries happen. Garden-related incidents happen with more frightening regularity than most other occupations or situations. In fact, some 87,000 gardening related injuries occur in the UK alone each year. This includes not only leisure time gardening calamities, but also professionals too, who are probably, pro-rata, more susceptible, even though they may be more safety conscious overall.

Some injuries or accidents are caused by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or a momentary lack of concentration. Others manifest themselves after a lifetime of physical work, genetic disposition, stress or fatigue, overconfidence, ignorance, bad working practices or even a tad of laziness.

As a professional gardener it follows that even if you take every precaution you reasonably can, things can happen, and do.

Nearly thirty years of professional gardening has taken its toll on my body. I’m now paying the hefty price.

It’s time to put some scaffolding in my spine.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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