But the humble British garden is so much more than a place for toil. I like to think of it as an extra outside room for us to enjoy.That means that once the work is over, it’s also about sunbathing, water pistols and paddling pools with the kids and relaxation; a cold beer or glass of wine on your favourite seat, the sizzle of the barbecue in the background. Nothing makes me happier than sitting outside in the morning hearing the kids squeal with laughter on the trampoline, the warmth of sun on my face and the scent of cooking bacon coming from the kitchen window.
Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time gardening (during this lockdown my own garden rather than countless others).
And tather than transforming other people’s plots, ITV’s Love Your Garden team, Alan Titchmarsh, Katie Rushworth, Frances Tophill and I, have thrown open our own gardens and invited viewers to see just how we do it recently.
But you definitely need to balance hard work with play. Barbecuing on a sunny Saturday is a great Domoney family tradition.
My girls love ribs – I mean they really go mad for them, so does Dad!
We use charcoal for lunch-time cooking, as it lights quickly and burns faster than briquettes for a quick turnaround. In the evening, when we cook different courses, I use briquettes – they take longer to light but burn longer, so you can cook several different courses. Grow herbs near your patio in beds or pots: parsley, basil and chives can all be picked fresh for your plate in the perfect “garden to garnish” moment.
Likewise, rosemary, thyme and sage all make great patio plants that benefit the plate too.
We have a small shed which caters for our family garden days. It has everything we need packed in and it’s bursting at the seams.
The paddling pool is a favourite (so is the puncture repair kit – it’s been fixed so many times, the kids think the patches are part of the pattern) plus garden games like jenga, lawn darts, badminton, frisbees and water pistols.
As a family, we have great fun enjoying the garden together. Our pets love it too, and the tortoises keep the dandelions down in the lawn when they’re out.
But whatever the age of your children, or your own circumstances, there is something special about being outside together and these treasured moments will soon become fond memories.
Like us, you should see your garden as an escape – don’t sit there worrying about the length of the grass or a few weeds in the borders.
There will be time enough to deal with those later.
While the sun is shining, make sure you carve off some time like us to simply enjoy the great outdoors unhindered by jobs.
David Domoney is a leading horticulturist and a star of ITV’s Love Your Garden
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