We should all be making the most of these lovely, long evenings as we approach the summer solstice. But, like most people, after a long busy day the last thing I can face is yet more jobs in the garden. This is when I tend to indulge in ‘gin and tonic gardening’. I’d highly recommend it. The link between gardens, gardening and positive mental health is now well documented. A spot of gin and tonic gardening will give you a deeper connection with the natural world, a healthier garden and a more relaxed, stress-free you. It’s win-win. Obviously it doesn’t have to be gin and tonic and non-alcoholic alternatives are available, but that’s my tipple of choice. I blame my Mum, for both gin and the garden thing!

First, you need to establish your gin and tonic spot. It should catch the evening sun and either require you to walk through your garden to reach it, or give you an up close and personal view of your borders. The only other requirements are a pair of sharp secateurs, a pair of sharp eyes and a sturdy glass which will not topple over if you get so carried away you temporarily pop it down on an uneven surface. As you wander to your chosen spot or sit sipping and surveying your patch, really look carefully at all your plants. Doing this regularly will mean you start to notice when they are looking less perky than usual (probably need a water) or are covered in horrid aphids (see photo). Aphids are a perfect one-handed gin and tonic gardening job. Most can be dealt with simply by rubbing your fingers over the infested buds or shoots, doing away with the need for horrible pesticides. Another perfect job is dead-heading. Clasp your glass firmly in your left hand and secateurs in your right and simply snip off faded blooms just above a leaf. Roses, perennial cornflowers, salvias and many more will reward you with healthier plants and more flowers. For more information visit the RHS at https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=129 . Your garden will really benefit from your regular focus and it won’t even feel like work, I promise.

Finally, if all else fails, you can always sit there making a list of jobs to present to your partner on Saturday morning. Cheers!