Gardening has a number of benefits: it’s a good form of exercise, it’s calming and it supports good mental health.
But that doesn’t stop some of the tasks necessary to keep our gardens looking pretty, feeling like chores sometimes.
According to new research by Gazeboshop, weeding is at the top of that list, with 40% of people admitting they find it to be the most annoying gardening task.
Following that is raking, digging and chopping down trees.
The top seven most hated gardening tasks
- Raking leaves
- Chopping down trees
- Trimming hedges
- Watering plants
But, despite being annoying, those tasks are a necessary evil.
We spoke to mindful gardening expert Kendall Platt about how to make the worst gardening tasks that little bit easier.
How to tackle the most annoying gardening tasks
Weeds are pesky little plants that can threaten the health of your garden.
‘As the temperatures rise in spring you’ll notice a plethora of weeds popping up in your garden borders,’ Kendall tells Metro.co.uk.
She suggests turning the task into an act of mindfulness.
‘Often viewed as a thankless task, 20 minutes of mindful weeding can be used to channel any negative situations you’ve experienced that day into the weeds themselves,’ she says.
‘As you remove the weeds and throw them into the compost bin, visualise the negative thoughts and situations going with them.
‘Set yourself a goal of weeding one border in your 20 minutes so the task feels less overwhelming.’
This task is usually only applicable in autumn when the leaves fall to the ground – but that doesn’t make it any less daunting.
Kendall suggests turning it into a fun game with your children or partner, or a friend.
‘See who can collect the most in a bin liner or hessian sack’ she says.
‘Then, tie up and leave the full sacks somewhere dark and damp to rot down into the most wonderful soil conditioner ready to sprinkle on your garden the following year.’
Digging is a strenuous activity, so it’s no wonder it’s third on the list of most hated gardening tasks.
The good news is, it’s not completely necessary: ‘Some gardeners adopt the no-dig approach to their gardens, which is said to reduce the amount of weeds that grow in your soil,’ says Kendall.
However some gardeners love to turn their soil over and incorporate manure or compost in the autumn – so why not view it as a form of exercise?
‘Digging can give your big muscles a great workout and help you to feel stronger over time,’ Kendall adds.
Pruning trees is vital to remove dead, diseased and damaged branches, and is usually done in winter or early spring.
Here’s how to do it:
‘Remove dead, diseased and damaged branches with secateurs,’ says Kendall.
‘Then remove branches in the centre of the tree to leave you with a goblet or wine glass shaped space with the remaining branches.
‘This improves airflow around the new growth and reduces the prevalence of disease.’
Usually done October to March to avoid disturbing nesting birds, trimming hedges can be tedious.
Luckily, Kendall says, it’s best done twice yearly to avoid the hedge getting overgrown and out of control, meaning you can get it out of the way and forget about it.
‘To make it more fun, why not challenge yourself to see how straight you can get the sides,’ Kendall adds.
While it may be boring or annoying for some, Kendall considers planting a ‘truly hope-inducing task’.
She says: ‘Dig a hole for your plant twice the size of the root ball and loosen the sides and edges of the planting hole to ensure the roots can easily penetrate the soil around them.
‘Backfill the hole with soil once your plant is in place and use your hands to create a moat around the plant.
This ensures the water stays near the roots of the plant (where it’s most needed) and eases the plant’s journey into its new home.’
Watering your plants, especially when the weather gets warmer and we have less rainy days, is important for keeping them healthy and, well, alive.
Again, Kendall suggests treating this as a mindful task.
‘This is a wonderful activity to do at the end of a long work day to switch off your whirring mind from spring to autumn when rainfall has been nonexistent,’ she says.
Alternatively, you can automate the job.
‘Use soaker hoses for large borders or vegetable beds if you are short on time,’ says Kendall.
‘Simply turn them on once the sun has gone down and let them water your plants while you relax in your green space.’