The garden is no place for fashionistas. If you must top dress, save it for the lawns.

There’s a strange and somewhat disturbing trend in garden catalogues and back pages of garden magazines lately — ads for clothing designed just for gardening.

This is an intriguing concept.

In my book, gardening gives you permission to look hideous when people drop in unexpectedly.

On a typical day in my garden, I am happily clad in whatever holey, stained clothes are closest at hand and pay little or no attention to my appearance. Devoid of makeup and hair products — it usually hasn’t had a brush near it —  my locks stick out at odd angles, no lipstick and my invisible fair eyelashes makes me look like a tuberculosis sufferer and comments that spring to the lips of the surprised and somewhat stunned unannounced visitor, is that I look “sick’’ or “tired’’.

Well, I am sick and tired — of keeping up appearances, that is, and so let them drop away when I’m up to my elbows in soil and leaf litter.

This casual approach, although very comfortable, has significant drawbacks. Babies cry, dogs bark, and people have actually crossed the street to avoid me. I began to wonder that perhaps if I looked less like this…

frankenstein monster

and more like this…

gardn fashionista resized

… I’d keep the neighbours and occasional drop-ins happier and calmer on my garden days.

A pal, Tammy, took up the challenge recently and instead of buying expensive new garden clobber, she cruised a local thrift shop, then followed several tried and true fashion rules to create new gardening outfits.

She snaffled a pair of thigh high boots for stomping down the soil, long sun protecting scarf, and the skirt even had a pocket for her secateurs.

tammys sassy boots and secateurs keeper

She also picked up the ubiquitous little black dress, which takes you everywhere.

Clothes for garden little black dress

I felt positively dowdy when I saw her.

Perhaps it behoves me to make a bit more of an effort in the couture line, when even garden hoses come in designer wraps.

well dressed hoses

I admit it’s a relief to know that all these gems lay in wait if I feel the urge to frock up in the flora. I feel more fashionable already!

I did own a pair of shiny new green gardening boot-ette things which stayed that way for a whole two minutes before I tramped through the paddock.

I wonder how 19th century gardeners managed to clean up.

gardening old world


They must have practised a genteel type of gardening that saw no mud or manure piles. And they had help with the washing.

Of course, there are those gardeners who don’t even try to look the part — like these guys.

gardeners nude

Are they playing Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Perhaps they just hate laundering.