WRIGHT THINKING: The joys of the ‘green gym’

editorial image

And today, dear reader, the joys of compost, hibernating bears, the “green gym”, and shredding.

And today, dear reader, the joys of compost, hibernating bears, the “green gym”, and shredding.

If, like me, you spend too much time at a desk in front of a computer screen, isn’t it great to be at this page in the diary when spring is definitely beckoning and there are things to do in the garden.

That’s where the hibernating bears come in. I’ve always fancied following the example of our furry friends.

It sounds like bliss to stuff yourself with good food all summer and autumn, and then sleep it off for a few months in a cosy cave while the chill winter rages outside.

The green gym idea comes from the theory that taking on physical work in the garden is a bit like doing a workout, and it certainly feels like it afterwards when you’ve extended some muscles which have had a few months out of action.

Like most physical exercise, it’s a good head-clearer too, and it’s a return to our primeval roots I suspect.

I don’t know if our hunting and gathering forebears had access to chain saws, but it does feel highly macho to be up a ladder taking out thick branches at some speed.

The electrical machines pop up again in the use of shredders and the indoor and outdoor versions were simply brilliant inventions.

Watching the garden variety devour a huge branch in seconds is one of the most therapeutic feelings in the world, and saves dozens of trips to the recycling skips at Burn Road.

Better yet, the resulting wood chips go back into the garden as mulch and rot down to condition the soil.

It sounds just as if I know what I’m talking about for a moment.

That must be the ideal recycling – putting dead wood back in the soil to nourish the new generation.

I could get quite morbid and philosophical about the analogy to our own human lives, but let’s get back to shredders.

The indoor paper variety is rather fine too.

We are told to shred personal papers and similar private documents, but I had a practical revelation some years back when I realised that the finely mashed paper is great for the compost bin.

Back to the gardening seminar here, as you may have noticed that, if you only put grass clippings into your compost heap, you get a green slimy mess instead of the real thing.

All you do is empty your paper shredder onto the heap and the sandwich layers between the grass from the lawn give it the essential air to make it decompose properly.

If you call round for a social drink any time soon, be prepared to be taken into the garden to view my beautifully crumbly, top quality compost.

I know how to impress a girl.

You will have spotted that it’s possible to become quite evangelical about all this, and my passion nearly erupted at the aforementioned recycling centre recently.

The chap in front of me was taking a huge pile of branches out of his car boot to go into the skip, and I overheard him say to his wife that they needed to go to the garden centre to buy some chipped bark next.

I was dying to talk him through the benefits of chipping and free mulch, but I thought it might have ended up in a kind of recycling rage – I don’t want to be barred out again.

I’m back at the desk now, but I feel virtuous about the aching back, and the view from my window of my lovely compost on the soil.

And one final question – do I get out enough?