Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gardening - beauty and the beasts!

I've just come in from the garden where I've been trying to take some cuttings so that I can replace a low hedge that has died from another of those mysterious diseases that seem to plague this amateur horticulturist! I don't think they died from neglect, as they have been a most pampered species since arriving chez nous some 5 years ago: but now, one by one, they are "slipping off the twig"! It's probably a mineral deficit, or a fungal or viral infection- a bit like we humans really -, but sadly they're heading for the re-cycling bin!

Meanwhile in the composter, the cockroaches seem to have found their own Nirvana: that is until I blasted them with some noxious neuro-toxin known as a Cockroach Bomb, which seems to have been effective not only on those 'orrible creatures, but also on worms and Slaters - or wood lice as they're called in the old country. I'm not surprised that farmers have an increased risk for neuro-degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's if they have to use industrial quantities of such amazingly deadly chemicals!

Luckily, at this time of year the insect load is at it's lowest, so less danger of stings from bees or wasps: but nature, abhorring a vacuum, gave up Ticks!! Being a keen walker, we often go through the bush at this time of year to appreciate the amazing wild flowers that are starting to appear here in WA: and bush country is tick country: and ticks being parasites, love the taste of blood - anyone's, or anythings blood! In this part of the world there hasn't been too much research on tick born disease, but in other parts of the world there's Lymes Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotty Fever - neither of which do you want to get!

But back to suburbia. The serious gardener will wear gloves, not that it helps much when it comes to pruning rose bushes which seem to find the cracks in Kevlar body armour: and of course we love to put horse manure on roses, and horse manure can be teeming with Tetanus! So, all you happy horticulturists, get a tetanus booster because tetanus is an extremely horrible illness, and an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!

And for those who love to "potter" in the potting shed and plant up those freshly taken cuttings: beware - potting mix in an enclosed area can give you a very nasty lung infection if you inhale the spores that it contains. If you're dealing with any rotting, or manure based mix, always do it outdoors, and I suggest you wear a mask too. And whilst on wearing masks, in order to control many garden pests, we do use sprays of various sorts: as a wise man said -"read the instructions, read the instructions, read the instructions" when it comes to safety instructions. Then you're far less likely to get a skin, eye, lung problems as a result of inappropriate exposure to toxic chemicals: and do remember to store your Chemical warfare agents safely under lock and key, away from prying, playful little fingers!

Otherwise, gardening is awesome and a balm for the weary soul! I love it and encourage as many as possible to get out and get dirty: it gives you the chance to not only stop and smell the roses, but to literally enjoy the fruits of your labour too!
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