At a Wisley craft fair in 2012 I bought, with a little scepticism, a gardening smock. It wasn't cheap, but producer Liz Wilkin of Cornishwear won me over. Based in (you've guessed it) Cornwall, and with the help of a team of outworkers, Liz produces modified Cornish fishing smocks. The gardening version has a couple of deep pockets and is made of extremely sturdy twill.
She's also designed them to be long enough "to keep the kidneys warm" and the thick twill shrugs off thorns, protects surprisingly well from drizzle and really, really keeps the wind out, which makes weeding quite cosy in miserable weather.
It's a little warm for high summer, but worth putting on, even then, for prickly areas. I now spend much less time unhitching woollies from the rose bushes, or saying 'ouch' to no one in particular as a thorn penetrates a forearm.
I also no longer have to hunt for secateurs and string (as these fit easily into the pockets). Best of all, I hang it from its loop on a hook by the back door, which means my best tops (invariably what I'm wearing when opportunity knocks) are protected at last.
The only thing I would say is that, if you find it difficult to pull clothes over your head, you'll find these (being of very sturdy, unstretchy material) a bit of a struggle. I've learned for the first time in my life to take a top off like a schoolboy - grab the back of the neck and haul upwards. (Liz does do fleece versions, though, which would, no doubt, be more forgiving.)
When this one finally goes the way of all threads (which will be in some time to come, since it is so sturdy), I will be beetling back to Liz to get another.
What with this and proper gardening boots, I will finally start to emerge from the undergrowth looking like a grown-up, rather than a mud-encrusted hoyden.