As an adolescent, I accepted my English teacher’s astute advice to always avoid alliteration.

But what do you do when you are afforded the chance to author articles under the headline “Ask Anna, Agony Aunt”? You accept, of course.

And such a chance appeared last year, when we were asked to contribute to the pages of Urban Fox magazine, which goes out in Leicestershire’s more agreeable, affluent areas (there – I did it again!).

Assuming the role of Marjorie Proops, Anna attentively answered all she was asked about the assorted anxieties associated with aboriculture, and aimed to advise appropriately. (Sorry!)

Anyway… here’s a snippet of Anna’s admirably alliteration-free advice from Urban Fox’s bulging postbag. This one is about how to manage gardening as you get older.

My parents love their garden, but the work is getting a bit much for them. Is there anything I can do to make gardening easier for them?


There are many ways to take the toil out of gardening. A simple solution to make life easier for your parents, without taking away any of their enjoyment, is to remove some of the bending tasks by installing some raised planting beds. These can be purchased in kit form from garden centres, or it’s relatively easy to build them yourself.

Raised beds make tending plants, weeding and watering a much more comfortable job. Raised planting has the added benefit of creating better drainage, and some plants, like Clematis and Sweet Peas, prefer the deeper root run that raised beds provide.

Any containers – pots, troughs and hanging baskets – are easier to manage than planting in a standard border. You can keep on top of weeding and pests, change the displays more often and move them around. Hanging baskets bring your garden right up to your door, and they can be fitted to pulley systems to make tending them a breeze.

One of the most labour intensive areas of a garden is often the lawn. These days you can buy robotic lawnmowers but be warned: they’re not cheap, starting at about £800. Maybe a more cost effective alternative would be for you to offer to cut their lawn for them instead!

If you have any of your own garden related problems, do write in.

We’ll do our best to answer them for you (with an absolute absence of alliteration).