Garden short cuts? No thanks | James Wong

So often the media message is for low-fuss or easy horticulture, totally missing the reason why so many people love gardening

There are all sorts of basic tenets held dear by the traditional gardening media, which have become such an inherent part of its DNA that they not only go unquestioned, but are essentially invisible. But here’s one I have always thought of as bizarrely out of step with why most gardeners actually garden: the fixation with all things low maintenance.

Whatever I work on, whether it’s TV, radio or books, the number one instruction repeatedly handed down to me is that all ideas should be incredibly easy for people who don’t want to spend too much time on them. My problem with this is that it is predicated on the idea that gardening is boring; some brain-numbing chore you want to be over and done with as soon as possible. Like the washing up or ironing, it’s the type of thing you need nifty hacks to dramatically speed up or, ideally, avoid doing altogether. This sort of approach is epitomised by the makeover show, where plants are treated as something to be hurriedly chucked down like cushions or candles before the all-important reveal.

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