As Sir Rannulph Fiennes said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” And so it is with gardening in the rain. You just need to be prepared.
Eschew jeans in favour of looser fitting trousers, easily peelable leggings, or best of all, waterproof ski-wear (charity shops often have day-glo or otherwise hideous ski-wear at bargain prices). Feeling cold wet jeans against your skin is an experience that adds little joy to life. Fluffy socks to keep your feet warm are another comfort essential.
Go for lots of layers on top – with a lightweight raincoat as the outer layer – so you can strip off as the exertion warms you up. Alternatively, if it’s not too cold, wear the bare minimum (on the basis that sopping clothes are a lot less comfortable than wet skin).
With the right preparation, there’s no reason that gardening in the rain should be less fun than gardening in the sunshine – particularly if you add tea and crumpets to reward yourself once you’re done…
Accessory #1: Wellies
A good pair of wellies will protect your feet and your floors in equal measure: few things indicate a keen gardener more than the state of the floor. By keeping a pair of boots next to the door you can ensure your feet stay dry, and they can easily be slipped off so that you don’t traipse mud around the house. Life’s too short for daily floor cleaning, after all.
Accesory #2: Welly warmers
Cold feet are one of the major banes of gardening in the rain, but welly warmers slip inside your boots to add an extra level of warmth between your socks and your wellies. They’re available in various sizes and colours: great for festivals too, and under £10.
Accessory #3: Waterproof brimmed hat
Rain in your eyes can make it hard to tell your weeds from your plants, but a waterproof hat will keep the rain at bay – and there’s no need for the hat to be boring, either.
Accessory #4: A nice cup of tea
Keeping warm is so much easier if you’ve got a cup of tea (coffee, or brandy-laced hot chocolate) to hand. These fantastically kitsch thermos flasks will ensure you have access to a cuppa no matter how extended a gardening session is required. NB: Considerably cheaper thermos flasks are available. It’s the cat that adds the cost. Should a cat thermos be out of your budget, and you feel that cats are an essential part of your thermos experience, paint your own instead.
Accessory #5: Rain catchers
While it’s raining, take advantage of all that free (and eco-friendly) water. You can simply put out buckets or invest in a water butt. However, if you’d rather have a quirkier approach to water collection, these petal tops petal tops that funnel rainwater into recycled water bottles may appeal. Positioning a group of them together in an area of the garden that’s unfit for growing will make an interesting feature.
You could also make your own by cutting petals into the top of a soft drink bottle, and taping it (neck-to-neck) to the top of another bottle. These can look pretty with solar powered lights on top too.
Accessory#6: Garden kneeler
OK, so I’m a little obsessed with avoiding getting mud on the floor but only because cleaning floors is such a chore. A mat inside the door to the garden will help protect your floors. Do hoover it regularly though, particularly if you have any asthmatics in the house, as otherwise it’ll be a hellish dust trap.
Accessory #8: Warm Water Indulgence
After an afternoon working hard in the rain, a warm bath is the ultimate recovery aid – particularly if you throw in some comforting lotions and potions.
Oat Soak is one of my new favourites, after the PR sent me a sample to review. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had all the skin-soothing and softening benefits of oats (one of my favourite bath additions) but without the annoyance of a porridge-filled bath. Apparently, this is down to the sort of oats that they use, which remain suspended in the water. It certainly makes cleaning the bath much less of a chore.
Tisserand’s muscle relief bath oil is another fantastic way to ease away the pains. The ginger, rosemary and lemongrass oils smell amazing, and should help you warm up in no time. Alternatively, you can make your own aromatherapy blends, tailored to your preferences.
And if you only have a shower, Lush Turkish Delight Roulade will leave you smelling of roses, or their Needles and Pine will bring the forest into your home. Alternatively, you can make your own herbal toiletries.
Accessory 9: A Fluffy Towel
Braving the rain to get stuck into gardening calls for a reward, in the form of comfort. Getting cold to the bone is almost worth it when you’re wrapped up in a warm, deep-pile towel after your bath or shower- and you can often find towel bundles at a bargain price on eBay.
Accessory #10: Blanket
Finally, curl up underneath a blanket – or perhaps a slanket (make your own with an old blanket if you can’t afford one)? This blanket with sleeves leaves your hands free to flick through your favourite gardening book and hold your tea. Lazy? Yes. But you have been in the garden in the rain, so you deserve a rest…