What to wear in the gar­den

A hard­work­ing gar­dener needs hard­work­ing clothes – but a lit­tle style goes a long way too

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Cover Story -

Like many of us, I gar­den op­por­tunis­ti­cally. I hardly ever have the lux­ury of a whole day when I get up and put on the right clothes to work in the gar­den – ironic, given that I am a fash­ion grad­u­ate, with a de­gree in fash­ion and tex­tiles, and years spent work­ing in Mi­lan. Usu­ally I wan­der out to feed the hens, to pick a bunch of flow­ers or a few herbs, get dis­tracted by a job that needs do­ing, and work un­com­fort­ably, of­ten ru­in­ing un­suit­able gar­ments (my Mis­soni knit never re­cov­ered from that rose). Of course, I know noth­ing beats wear­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate out­fit for com­fort, warmth and ease of move­ment, and style per­haps, but mostly when I gar­den, I strut out in my son’s old baggy Carhartt jeans, and a cash­mere vest (fash­ion faux pas) un­der a navy hoodie found at a car­boot sale. It’s im­por­tant to keep warm and dry, es­pe­cially at this time of year, to be able to move eas­ily and keep tools to hand, so I have asked some real gar­den­ers what they wear to work. Jake Hob­son is a topi­arist, snip­ping and shap­ing beau­ti­ful or­na­men­tal topi­aries. Pruners in hand, he moves beyond the tra­di­tional lol­lipops and an­i­mals, draw­ing on east­ern styles to cre­ate a new ap­proach that ap­peals to mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties. Hob­son has gar­den­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Ja­pan, where all gar­den­ers wear a uni­form of tan work­wear, split-toed tabi shoes and tuck-in trousers. He has adopted their beltand-hol­ster method of tool car­ry­ing (see his web­site ni­waki.com) for in­stant ac­ces­si­bil­ity, but favours US Ar­bor­wear trousers. This range in­cludes can­vas, denim and ny­lon fab­rics that feel like cot­ton, wick away mois­ture and pro­tect from UV rays. Dou­ble knees, cargo pock­ets and boot­friendly cuffs all help make th­ese hard­work­ing clothes com­fort­able and func­tional. I’m a fair-weather gar­dener, but Hob­son works out­side come rain or shine. He also wears New Zealand sports clothes man­u­fac­turer Swazi’s wa­ter­proof anorak, long­line, well fit­ting and Ray Mears’s “first line of de­fence”. Many su­per­mar­kets sell a range of in­su­lated out­door­wear with Thin­su­late. The Cotswold-based company Genus has de­signed a range of per­for­mance gar­den­wear for men and women that un­der­stands kneel­ing, bend­ing, stretch­ing in all weather con­di­tions, with stab-proof pock­ets and damp-proof seat pan­els. Ideal out­fits Gar­den­ing team Sarah and Jim Wain, who have spent the past 20 years restor­ing and main­tain­ing West Dean

… rak­ing the fire grate and adding a thin layer of­woodash tomy com­post heap and aroundmy goose­berry and jostaberry bushes. Gar­dens, West Sus­sex, be­lieve the ideal gar­den­ing out­fit should con­sist of re­mov­able lay­ers and be cov­ered in pock­ets. How­ever, wais­theight pock­ets can of­ten re­sult in self-im­pale­ment from tools, and breast pock­ets of­ten spill their con­tents when you bend. Pock­ets on the out­side of the thigh are the an­swer, or in the case of the West Dean team, Ni­waki’s belt and dou­ble hol­sters, bulk or­dered last au­tumn. “Now we’re all Quick Draw McGraw,” says Sarah, “and we don’t lose our se­ca­teurs.” Bob Flow­erdew wears char­ity shop ski out­fits, which, he says, are ideal and colour­ful. Gravetye Manor’s head gar­dener, Tom Coward, wears an old don­key jacket and swears by his Aus­tralian Blund­stone work­boots, from shoe­land.co.uk. I have no­ticed that the trendy gar­dener to­day (as spot­ted at gath­er­ings such as the Great Dix­ter plant fairs) sports French work­wear jack­ets from sec­ond-hand shops. Sim­i­lar out­fits are avail­able from Old Town and the Car­rier Company, both in Nor­folk. It’s one’s ex­trem­i­ties that are the first to sig­nal re­treat in bad weather: I al­ways wear (and for 20 years sold) Showa gloves: light, cheap and strong, tough for prun­ing, and ther­mal dur­ing win­ter. I use the fine ones for weed­ing. They are tough but flex­i­ble and ma­chine wash­able. Ethel and Gold Leaf are good, and Joe’s Gloves (joes-gar­den. com) does a range of sim­ple gar­den­ing gloves that are de­signed to solve par­tic­u­lar prob­lems. Some are pro­tec­tive, some dex­ter­ous, oth­ers are for all sea­sons and come in a range of bright colours that would be hard to lose. My feet stay warm in an­cient Dubar­rys, and since Christ­mas in non-slip Nordic Grip Unikia an­kle boots from cuck­ooland. com. Ha­glof and Ilse Ja­cob­sen, Scan­di­na­vian com­pa­nies, pro­duce a bril­liant range of clever, stylish footwear. Ba­sic wellies can be im­proved with Thin­su­late ther­mal in­soles (from 3mdi­rect.co.uk), which ab­sorb shocks, wick mois­ture and in­hibit bac­te­ria. Judg­ing from read­ers’ re­sponses on Twit­ter (@ FrancineHens), good women’s gar­den­ing clothes are hard to come by and are of­ten cov­ered in flo­ral prints; many re­sort to wear­ing men’s clothes in small sizes. I now have to ac­cept that there are clothes de­signed for the job, and no longer have the ex­cuse to look like a jum­ble-sale shop­per.

Dress code: clock­wise from above, work jacket and Ir­ish wool waist­coat from Nor­folk-based Car­rier Com­pany; Jim and Sarah Wain rely on pock­ets and lay­ers at West Dean Gar­dens, West Sus­sex; Ni­waki’s belt and dou­ble hol­ster; Tom Cow­ard of Gravetye Manor...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.