Gardening is for girls
Spring has sprung and it’s high time for us to take up our trowels, don our gloves and get grubby in our gardens.
Not likely. I cannot stand gardening – at least not the faffing about with seedlings, pruning, edging and low-level weeding that make it so tedious.
It’s a pastime designed for the fairer sex. And it’s not just me who thinks that.
A survey of 2,000 people found "women are better at choosing, arranging and tending to flowers, planting hanging baskets and selecting garden ornaments".
Men are just about to be trusted with digging beds or pushing the mower, although I have a convenient back problem that always flares up just in time to get me out of those mind-numbing tasks.
Despite society’s best efforts to blur the lines between the sexes, and a procession of male TV gardeners who have attempted to make flower selection manly, some things are better suited to women. In our garden, the differences are stark.
My wife’s definition of gardening is something like: "Planting pretty flowers and arranging pots to make everything look delightful."
My definition is something like: "Pulling out plants, moving heavy things and covering anything colourful with slabs and concrete."
Ground Force’s macho earth-mover Tommy Walsh is my garden hero, not the rather more prissy Alan Titchmarsh.
Freshly-turned soil is a terrible temptation for those most evil of animals, cats. One day I will do myself a mischief leaping off the sofa and sprinting into the garden to shoo a fat ginger moggy away, just before it leaves a steaming deposit next to our lilacs.
Either that, or I will finally snap and plant a landmine that leaves parts of the said feline in the gardens of dozens of people along our street.
So, to save me a visit from the RSPCA and spare the owners of the cat from grief, that is yet another argument in favour of covering gardens with concrete.
It also makes it far easier to set up tables laden with food and beer for seasonal barbecues with friends or family. A stable table is worth so much more than an eye-catching flower bed that restricts the number of invitees.
Not that I object to my wife enjoying the garden. I’m quite happy to watch her pottering about while I sip a cold beer, read the paper and occasionally give her useful (and no doubt very welcome) pointers from my panoramic position on the patio.
Of course, anyone in a relationship will know that the male-female garden divide is something that extends into the house.
Take marital bedrooms for example.
How many do you see with Top Gear bedcovers and a wall covered with hundreds of beer mats? That’s how they would look if men had their way.
But, in the same way that we cede control of the garden to ’er outdoors, when she becomes ’er indoors she is also the overseer of prettying up the bedroom.
So we macho men have to endure pastel shades and bedspreads with a flurry of flowers. And the beds get made each day, with a cuddly toy reclining on the duvet as a final act of emasculation.
Of course, I do slightly resent this loss of authority, which leaves my garden and bedroom looking girlie. I really should put up some posters of Norwich v Ipswich from last week or photos of me and my mates at a beer festival.
But I’m prepared to give ground in order to retain control of the only thing that really matters: the TV remote.
posted on 26 April 2011 08:47 bySteve Downes