In particular I cannot understand his habit of digging holes, planting seeds and generally grubbing about in the soil with his bare hands. Now whilst I can well understand that his beautiful dog Nigel might well have trouble handling a spade to bury a bone, I do not see the advantage to Monty of planting with his bare hands. I've noticed it many times and just a couple of weeks ago he was fossicking around in the soil with bare hands planting hydrangeas. I guess he's trying to portray a mystical sort of oneness with the soil and connectivity with the plants he is handling. Not only is it total baloney but he is advocating a very risky practice. Whilst Monty's soil may be the most wonderful graded grains, personally tilled for years, the same is not so for most gardeners. And to add to this, our very own Mother Earth, namely Carol Klein was doing the same thing last week, planting geraniums with her bare hands in the unknown soil of a community garden.
Quite simply, garden soil, whilst vital for growth is full of potential dangers. Firstly there are those risks that can be seen, glass, rusty metal and animal faeces. Hands up all those gardeners who have never come across any of these? Then there are the unseen but very real risks of tetanus, toxicara, staphylococcus and Weil's disease, just to mention those that immediately come to mind. Cut your finger on glass in the soil and the likelihood of infection is high. And above ground there are all the inevitable risks from spiny plants, rusty wire and splinters. If you've ever had a thorn down the back of a fingernail, you'll never prune without gloves again! Good tough leather gardening gloves are a must for any rough work in the garden. Did you notice, that the professional gardeners at Wisley on last week's program were all wearing gloves?
Add to this the simple effect on your skin. Grime ingrained skin and blackened fingernails are not sexy! Any sort of garden work, often with wetting and drying, leaves the skin dry and rough. Gardeners need to look after their green fingers! For years I used Levington compost for nursery work - beautifully 'clean' but the dry peat just sucked the moisture out of my skin. I constantly had dry, cracked, painful hands and spent a fortune on expensive skin cream until I discovered the thin latex gloves. Buy a cheap box of 100 on the internet. They keep the moisture in your skin and pesky pathogens out.
Now I can just about hear the instant response somewhere along the lines of "I couldn't possibly do that - fumble about in rubber gloves - I need to feel the plants!" Yes and I used to say that. But if a brain surgeon can operate with latex gloves, I guess we can all take a few cuttings without losing our basic skills. You'll quickly get used to it. The latex gloves are the thinnest but for those that have a rubber allergy, there are also vinyl which are not quite as close-fitting. I often wear latex gloves and then thick leather over the top. When doing a fiddly job like pruning and tying in a climber, I can take off the outer gloves to do the fiddly bits. And if your thoughtful partner brings out coffee and a slice of cake into the garden, hey presto - gloves off and clean hands without having to go indoor in muddy boots to wash hands!
C'mon BBC, the budget is not that tight, buy Monty and Carol some gloves!