I was sad to hear of the death of Geoffrey Smith at the weekend. I remember watching him on TV as a teenager, and my mum laughing at the way he would take a handful of well rotted compost and speak about it as if he was about to eat it. He was certainly a 'down to earth' gardener, but he was also clearly enthusiastic about gardening in a way that was infectious.
He has been quoted as saying, "some people go to the whisky bottle, I go into the garden", which strikes me as a very sound philosophy.
Gardening is great therapy and is used to help people overcome depression, but it is also a wonderfully creative and productive way to get rid of the day's stress and unwind reflectively after a busy week. Of course, if you're not used to gardening or any physical activity, it's best to take it easy so you don't end up with any injuries, and for the same reason you do need to exercise care and common sense with sharp instruments such as garden forks and shears as well as when tackling brambles and other plants with prickles and thorns.
Overall, though, the world would be a much better place if everyone spent an hour or two a day in the garden. Is it time the government introduced a compulsory gardening break on top of the lunch break? Would employees be more productive as well as more harmonious as a result?