When I first started work in the greenhouses at Falinge Park, Rochdale all the older guys used to wear Lancashire clogs. They explained that the wooden soles keep your feet warm and dry and were especially comfortable when standing on the cold concrete and tiled floors of the greenhouses, which were also often wet from damping down to raise the humidity for the plants’ well being.
I duly bought myself a pair of bright red clogs with ‘rubber irons’ (usually they had metal irons on the soles, which would ‘spark’ as you walked down cobbled streets). They did just what the guys said and I continued to wear them and even bought some fancier dancing clogs from Walkleys Clogs in Hebden Bridge.
When I started studying and working at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh I continued to wear them, well that was until I was challenged as I walked through the gardens by a robin – I was obviously walking through his territory!
At the parks, Friday afternoon was clog-cleaning time – another lesson learned, that cleanliness is not only next to Godliness but prevents spreading plant diseases.
It’s important to clean your boots after working on soil affected by club root, honey fungus, sclerotinia fungus, root aphids and other problems, which can all be spread by soil stuck in the treads of your boots.
Diseases can also be spread from plant to plant by using contaminated pots, tools and even by your hands, so always wash your hands after working with diseased plants or soil and wash and disinfected cutting and digging tools after each use.
Infected plant material should always be removed promptly and disposed of carefully in order to limit the spread of disease. Dry, woody material may be burnt in gardens that are large enough to have a safe bonfire or incinerator. To check the rules about having a bonfire visit gov.uk
Plant that have been affected by foliar infections such as black spot on roses and brown rot on fruits, can be disposed off by burying them about 30cm deep.
Soil and rootballs may need to be taken to your local tip recycling centre but you’ll find that there is usually a small charge.