Do not Wither, Do not Fade, Do not grow old, implores Queen Elizabeth of the young nobleman Orlando, in Virginia Woolf's novel named after him. This is a notion that is at odds with the current moment as all around us things are doing exactly that. The season is currently delivering its annual reminder that things in fact wither and fade. And then I watched an Oprah episode which was all about the Blue Zones, pockets of civilisation with disproportionately higher numbers of older and very healthy people. Clips were shown of ninety something year olds whacking weeds, trimming shrubs, picking fruit. Wait a minute, I see a pattern here. Yes indeed, eating Pecorino in Sardinia and hand grinding your corn in Costa Rica were all coupled with gardening as part of the list of things that keeps these blue zoners perpetually healthy. Gardeners it seems have a better chance of remaining evergreen.

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