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When good gardens go bad

 


Gardening can be a perilous occupation. There are many hazards waiting in store for the unwary. This time of year wasps can be a menace. I had begun to attack the long grass on the hill below part of the tea plantation. There is a flat native grass of the dichondra family which I am trying to encourage by chopping out paspalum and other grasses.

As I threw my spade vigorously into a clump suddenly both hands were covered in wasps. The first sting alerted me to the fact that the spade had landed in a wasp nest. I dumped spade, made a speedy retreat, stumbling backwards up the hill ripping off my gloves as I went. I was lucky the stings were confined to my hands.

Wasp stings are alkaline so the best immediate treatment is something acid, vinegar or lemon juice. I poured half a bottle of vinegar into a bowl and plunged my hands in till the stinging calmed down.

Some people go straight to the bathroom and using soap and water scrub out the venom. There are also homeopathic remedies as well. That night I took a histamine and prepared myself for several days of itching.

Bees are acid and just sting the once (unlike wasps which sting multiple times) and the sting needs to be carefully removed and an alkaline substance, usually a paste made from baking soda and water applied immediately neutralises the sting.

Ice packs also help to soothe the area. For people with an allergy a trip to the nearest medical centre is advisable.

Everyone has a different treatment for the follow-up itching.

Low branches and sticks are a hazard for the eyes. I think gardening glasses as well as gardening gloves are a good idea. I had just bought my smart new bifocal, transitional and progressive glasses and on the first outing a small branch whipped a bit out of the frames.

When barrowing rocks answer the thought ‘I think I can manage just one more’ with a following thought of ‘no you can’t’. Or ‘remember the last time you tried that’. The first barrowload is always sensible but the desire to finish the job increases with each load and the ‘just one more’ is very tempting.

I was barrowing rocks through a shortcut in the bush. My electric wheelbarrow does a great job of navigating tree roots. I had successfully taken several trips and nearing the final one I filled the barrow with the last rocks. As I headed down the path the barrow, which was very full, gained its own momentum and at that point I tripped on a root. The barrow flew sideways spilling the entire
load while I tried to gain my balance as I careered through the trees finally wrapping myself around a sizeable totara and falling winded to the ground.

Dawn had been gardening with me that day and she heard the rocks falling, the accompanying screech followed by a thud and then… silence. She arrived to find me in what I think is called the foetal position on the ground. She blamed the tree roots but I know I had overdone the size of the load. Fortunately it only takes a minute to get the breath back.
I now approach the barrow and the ground with caution.


The barrow flew sideways spilling the entire load… as I careered through the trees…
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