Byline: By Lynne Allbutt
HE may have been an Olympic athlete, but Colin Jackson admits he doesn't leap for joy at the thought of gardening.
"I'm not a keen gardener," he told me. "But I love plants and I do really appreciate a nice garden. It's strange just how relaxing it can be.
"I've never really done any gardening. When I was growing up we only had a small back yard with some veg, and my mum kept the front pretty.
"Dad used to take me strawberry picking to a big farm near Lisvane, and eating them straight from the field was brilliant.
"I love fresh fruit and veg and it's so good for you.
"I'm lucky that my uncle Russell has an allotment so I get lots of seasonal vegetables.
"He grows wicked tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins - and loads of them!
"I think they're my favourites." But what about his favourite plants? "Red Hot Pokers," is the quick answer.
"When I was little I used to measure myself against them to see who was growing the most. They always used to win."
Where does he prefer to train, on the track or on woodland trails?
"Definitely trails. Running in nature is far nicer," says the Cardiff-born former hurdler. "Running on the track is boring, I feel like a goldfish just going round and round. The Taff Trail is great for running, you've got the river and the parks in Cardiff which are so lovely to run through, and the key thing is that a lot of it is flat.
"When I was 19 or 20, I remember running in Norway and training through their great pine forests.
"The ground was soft because of all the fallen pine needles and it was ideal for running.
"I love being outdoors," he added. "We need to be saving as much of it as we can, our environment is so important.
"We should be keeping the air purer and cleaner.
"Mind you, we are very fortunate in Wales, with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other - it's perfect."
WHEN it's just too cold and wet to work outdoors, have a little browse around www.gardeningmags.co.uk.
Hosting the publications Gardening Answers and Garden News (written by gardeners for gardeners) the site offers loads of gardening goodies from virtual gardening, where you can have a look around other people's gardens, to gardening projects and lots of seasonal tips and ideas for your own plot. …