Preparation for Spring with Niki Preston and Arthritis Research UK

Preparation for Spring with Niki Preston and Arthritis Research UK

Gardening blogger from Peterborough, Niki Preston, ‘The Two Fingered Gardener’, is helping to encourage gardening, particularly among people with arthritis and joint pain, who can find it difficult to undertake everyday tasks such as gardening, with their condition. Here is the start of our week long gardening campaign!

One of the most important things about gardening is making sure you are comfortable and probably the most forgotten item is clothing. Try and find something that is cosy and loose fitting with plenty of pockets. I wear dungarees specifically designed for gardening by however these are quite pricy, a cheaper alternative is possible with a pair of comfy joggers and a fleece with big pockets.

Pockets are essential; I am always stuffing wire and labels in mine and always carry a small pair of snipers. A really important item is your mobile phone, I learnt this by falling over in the garden and no one knew so I had the rather embarrassing wait for someone to find me and ask “What are you doing down there?” so now my phone comes with me all the time to make the rescue call if needed, which it hasn’t since then, typical.

Shoes are often ignored too, you just shove any old pair on, off you go and wonder why you have sharp thorns in your toes or you feel very uncomfortable by the time they come off. A good solid pair of garden clogs, such as, these are great as not only are they very squishy and supportive you can get lovely garden designs too, mine are roses, and they have lavender and veggie on too. Shoes that you just slip on are great, no bending or pulling needed.

It is very easy to get lost in the tranquillity of your garden and time flies by. You suddenly realise you have done far too much and you can hardly move. To combat this get a good, loud timer and set it to your preferred time, mine is 20 minutes; I really need a break and a sit down by this time. Make sure when your timer goes off you take a breather, this is also a great time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your hard work, admire your garden as well as work in it.

If at all possible try and garden with raised beds and sitting down I have a wonderful bright pink office chair that I wheel about on when I am on the patio, its great fun and so much less strain on your hips and back. It is height adjustable to so you can be at the right level all the time.

I have also found microwavable wheat bags a real bonus in the garden. After all cold is the bane of an arthritis suffers life. Heat up a long wheat bag, lavender ones are great as they smell gorgeous and are very relaxing. Take it out with you and wrap it around your painful bits, hips, back and even your hands to give them a warm up when needed. Most wheat bags will keep warm for a couple of hours.

I really hope some of my tried and tested ideas will inspire you to get out there and give gardening a go, get moving, get growing, get excited about gardening.