Biting Hard

Reading time 4 minutes

I have never enjoyed going to the dentist (that would be perverse), but equally I’ve never feared the experience either. Generally my twice-yearly visits involve a lot of tense gaping, followed by a gentle telling-off from the dentist about not doing something or other correctly: flossing / brushing / biting / eating / gargling ….. delete as appropriate. Over time I’ve concluded that trying to please my dentist is about as possible as satisfying a personal trainer (if I had one): trying one’s best is never going to be good enough.

During a recent checkup the chastising stepped up a gear. Apparently I have been brushing too hard, not using my interdental bushes frequently enough (actually not at all, but I wasn’t admitting that) and biting my food incorrectly. Who knew there was a correct way to bite food? Both dentist and hygienist managed to shake up a cocktail of despair and condescension, garnished with a brutal assessment of the future prospects for my gnashers. I return tomorrow for two minor fillings at a cost I cannot reconcile with the cursory length of my appointment. But then, who ever met a poor dentist? In an act of dirty protest I went to bed that night without brushing my teeth. I did not feel better for it in the morning.

Truth is, my hectic lifestyle is neither good for my teeth or the rest of my body. I eat and drink erratically and badly. I live out of a suitcase and am too knackered at the end of the day to be pushing miniature pipe cleaners into the gaps between my teeth (although never too tired to tend to my plants). I will regret not doing so one day, just as I will regret drinking too much wine, eating too many ready meals, not saving, not visiting Syria before the war, not learning to play the piano, not cultivating a six pack etc. etc. One can only do so much.

Meanwhile it’s turned cold in the east of England this week. In preparation I retired all my tropicals to the workshop last weekend. Here they will overwinter in frost-free gloom. Gingers and bananas are not actively growing at this time of year, so require very little light to keep them going. I rather enjoy standing alongside my giant green friends as I pot up bulbs, listen to The Archers and make plans for next year. The garden looks vast and empty without them all, but it’s a good opportunity to jet-wash the courtyard and tidy my raised beds. Rummaging among the foliage I discover that narcissi are beginning to stick their little green beaks above the ground, a clear sign that spring is only months away. Will we experience another biting winter, or will the weather be kind to us? Who knows? At least I know how to look after my plants ….. TFG.

Categories: Container gardening, Foliage, gingers, Musings, Plants, Small Gardens, Urban Gardens, Weather

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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30 comments On "Biting Hard"

  1. Interesting timing because I was at the Dentist on Monday. I heard the same sermon except without the wonderful British accent. 11°F here but with wind it’s a balmy -6°F. It’s definitely winter here, and no one is peeking their head above the foot of snow on the ground. 🙂

  2. Your dentist sounds brutal. My dentist is a ‘good ol’ boy’. Can’t imagine him giving me the that sort of jizz. Your garden does look nearly empty. Pull out the afghan and pour a glass of wine and don’t think about him.

  3. You seem to be in reflective mood which I guess goes with the season! I feel the same as I need my garden as a foil against the mental busyness of work and family. I need the physical work outside so I continue with all sorts of stuff like brushing the path, painting the shed and mulching my miniature raised beds. Note to self – should I get some lovely green fences like yours, so stylish and pretty? However it’s nice to think that the whole gardening community is gazing out the back and thinking oh what will the winter bring this year?

    1. The green is Vert de Terre from Farrow and Ball. It’s utterly timeless and a great foil for plants. I’d recommend it. Much nicer than blues or greys.

      Not much time for reflection, although I have a long weekend ahead, which is exciting and much anticipated. Hope you enjoy your weekend. Dan

  4. Inexplicably my Mac won’t let me “like” your blog but I do like it. Isn’t power washing fun, and also a little addictive once one begins.
    My narcissi are poking through too, hope they’re not too early. Very best wishes and here’s to another year of wonderful gardening and blogging. Keep flossing! (Tess and Claudia might say)

    1. 😬 (I don’t think there’s a flossing emoji!)

      Narcissi are tough as old boots and will be fine. They’re already blooming in the Scillies. I’ve already purchased my first bunch!

      Have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Dentists must be the same the world over- one’s cleaning efforts are never enough! I thoroughly dislike going and always put it off for too long. It’s quite cold here too, surprisingly, with a cold southerly gale and a dust storm. Not at all what we expect for this time of the year.

    1. That doesn’t sound pleasant Jane. Cold here today with a dash of low, winter sunshine. Best thing is that I have the day off! Looking forward to a lazy weekend with some proper ‘me’ time. Hope you have a good one!

  6. Hands up…I confess, I am a dental hygienist! I might add I am also a keen gardener and have visited Dan’s garden on a number of occasions now to enjoy what he has created here. So here’s how it is from the other side of the fence. When your mouth is inspected we are LEGALLY obligated to advise you where there is risk of not only tooth decay but also where there is gum disease brewing…the biggest cause of tooth loss in UK…but one which generally does damage over a prolonged period where the person is usually blissfully unaware. This usually starts off in the spaces between teeth where brushing doesn’t really clean at all.Older trained dental bods traditionally only ever spoke about where you needed a filling but turned a blind eye to the gum disease bit… that nowadays then you risk having your name struck of the General Dental Council register and your career is over! So perhaps think of this next time you go….these people are only doing what they are trained to do ….nobody is soooo busy/tired/ overworked that they can’t spare 2 mins to clean with floss or spiral brushes….and you’re going to be the one who benefits…!!!

  7. Hilarious account of going to the dentist and, among other things, being admonished for not biting your food correctly! We have snow and ice in London, Ontario already, and monotone gray is moving in. Very much appreciate pictures of your garden and the activity you engage in caring for it so diligently and masterfully.

  8. Oh GOD!! Sorry I haven’t read the rest of the post yet, but just had to join you in the observation that dentists (and their assistants) get off on their position of domination and disapproval. I once had a dentist seemingly go through a checklist of bad habits that I may have started: alcohol, fizzy drinks, fruit juice…they were visibly disappointed when I refused to confess to any of these vices, until, to their obvious relief I said I occasionally drink sparkling water. Never has a group of health professionals been so self-righteous! I would love to quiz them on their habits (weeding maybe? composting?) and mirror their head-shaking and sighing.

    1. I am not convinced that either doctors or dentists practice what they preach. I am sure some do, but with others I am sure it’s a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’!

      To think, sparkling water is a vice? That’s another one for my list. The only other sparkling drink I enjoy is tonic, I can leave the rest. Dan

  9. Well I hope your dentist doesn’t read your blog or it’s no anaesthetic for you at the next filling! I am always nagged too but having had a few lost teeth as a result of not heeding their advice they do nag you for the best reasons! Thanks for your well written post…yes plants so much easier to look after than teeth!

    1. I went for my fillings and got plenty of anaesthetic, thank goodness. I could not drink for a few hours without dribbling and my nose went numb! I am doing at least half the things I was told to do last week, which is a good start!

  10. Life’s too short for pipe-cleaning teeth! I quite agree that plants come first 😊

    And isn’t gardening supposed to be good for one’s health?

  11. Dan, I think I’ve just seen you in the Times Saturday magazine. It certainly looks like you and of course you are surrounded by beautiful (but different!) colour and foliage 😂. Bold and vibrant shades of course and rainbow colours for Christmas

    1. Hi Julia! Yes, that was me. I didn’t spot that one, but I did see The Guardian piece though, which was an interview. It’s that time of year when I get wheeled out at every opportunity to talk about Christmas! This year’s bold colours definitely suit my personality. Dan

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