Gardening is a very popular pastime among pensioners, providing a gentle but invaluable form of exercise and a real sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Vegetable gardening is an excellent way to grow a vast range of shrunken, misshapen, pest-ridden produce, and reserving a small area for herbs will give you a wide range of aromatic flavourings in the first year and a rampant, choking mass of mint thereafter.

With a greenhouse, you can grow tomatoes, peppers and some species of humming birds, while flooding part of your garden will enable you to harvest water cress, bladderwrack and several varieties of slime.

Flowering shrubs and perennials can add colour and fragrance throughout the year, and many attract wildlife such as bees, tse-tse flies and rats, each of which brings its own fascination and disease to the garden.

However, gardening can become an unhealthy obsession and if you find yourself buying a trug, dibber or life-size poster of Alan Titchmarsh, you should immediately withdraw from the occupation and convert your garden into an ice rink or mediaeval lime pit for laundry.