Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The game of Jeopardy! takes knowledge, skill, and most of all - concentration.  I have learned the same could be said of gardening.

As I sit here with a swollen leg, bruised from the knee to the ankle, I have to warn you that gardening can be downright dangerous.  Here are just a few of the dangers in most gardens:

Stones -  The reason I'm hobbling around.  I was moving concrete blocks in a wheeled carrier, when one of the wheels got stuck in a hole and the carrier came down on my leg.   Luckily, I was only bruised. 

Spiders - In addition to my bruises, I also have two spider bites.  (It just hasn't been my week.)  Worried, I looked up the two most notorious spiders in my garden, the black widow and the brown recluse.  Luckily, it must have been a different spider that bit my arm (twice).

Sunburn - Wearing sunscreen and hats help.  If you get sunburned, there are a lot of home remedies you can use.  I like aloe vera gel the best.  Yes, I have sunburn this week, too!!!

Snakes - Always a threat to the gardener, snakes come out of hibernation about the same time we do!  I have seen several baby snakes this week.  I haven't run into the mom yet!  I hope I don't!

Sticks (Plants) - Before picking a flower, my granddaughter asks, "Will this one bite?".  She has learned that roses have thorns.  With the rise in MRSA, antibiotic ointment is popular in my household.  And it's not just scratches you have to worry about.  There are a lot of weeds (and some beautiful plants) that are poisonous or caustic.  Knowledge is important!

Scorpions - A threat here in the South, thankfully I've never been stung by a scorpion.

Sniffles - Allergies can wreak havoc on the budding gardener.  Many people take medication.  Thankfully, I don't have allergies!

Stings - Would you know what to do if you (or a visitor) got stung?  Remedies range from applying meat tenderizer to using an EpiPen.  Watching for life threatening symptoms is a must with every sting.

Saws and other electric/battery powered tools:  I love my little chain saw, and my electric hedge trimmers.  However, I know that severe bodily damage may occur in an instant from these machines.  I try to remember to always, always hold the tools with both hands, and watch where I'm swinging them!

Other 'Stuff' -

Sore muscles.
Garden ponds. (Can be deadly - watch the children!)
Statuary.  Mine once was in jeopardy of toppling over on me after leaning from a heavy rain.
Darkness.  I'm not afraid of the dark, but I like to see where I'm going! Outside lighting helps.
Ladders.  (Falling is dangerous.)
And a lot more, including lung diseases. (Feel like renting a haz-mat suit?)

I have noticed that I get hurt less when I concentrate on what I'm doing at the time.  Which is hard for me.  I have a tendency to daydream.  I need to remember to concentrate more on the task at hand.

In this gardening blog about joy, why would I mention these jeopardies?  Because a joyful gardener is a gardener that gardens without injury. (Try saying that three times fast!)

Have you ever been injured while gardening?


  1. I think the more appropriate question for me would be "Have you ever not hurt yourself while gardening?"! Just last week I was using a trowel as a hammer and cut myself with the edge. Quite a feat, considering how dull trowels are!

    Sorry to hear about your boo-boos. Be careful out there!

  2. Oh dear. Poor Holley. Did you mention that gardening can be back breaking? My fingers occasionally gets cut. When I deal with lemon grass and sugar cane, my entire hand and arm get small cuts. No matter how careful I am with pruning lime and lemon plants, I tend to get poked when trying to dispose of the branches. This is why I don't grow roses. I just admire yours and my neighbors'.

    Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  3. Chapped hands that bleed (gloves? what?), wasp stings, cuts from fencing, one scorpion bite, several spiders, ... most of your list actually.

    It is a good thing we love gardening so. Worth the pain for the beauty. Mend quickly, the heat is coming.

  4. Why, what happened to you, from knee to ankle is a long area! You must have been in deep meditation away from what you're doing, haha! Try the meditation style which says that all your concentration must be fully in what you are doing at the moment, that is the biggest mitigating measure in gardening. Hope you get well soonest!

  5. Goodness, hope you get and feel better soon so you can ejoy gardening fully again.

    A couple of years ago I was tidying up a clump of bamboo when I misjudged my movement and poked my eye with a bamboo stem. Did that hurt alot and had to to go the hospital immeditely to be treated for Corneal Abrasion. It took a couple of weeks to heal and had to use an eye patch for a week.

    There are so many possible causes of accidents in the garden as you've highlighted. I'd like to emphasize the importance of wearing well fitting, and sturdy gardening footwear.

  6. Shannon - you are right. I bet most gardeners have hurt themselves at some time. I hope your cut heals quickly. Funny how we usually use the tool at hand instead of the tool intended for the job.

    One - Rose thorns are constantly cutting me, but as you pointed out, they are not the only hazardous plant in the garden! Since I don't grow the things you mentioned, I didn't realize they were so dangerous to deal with!

    Tufa Girl - Ouch! I forgot ticks and lyme disease, too. I have learned to always, always wear gloves. I would wear long sleeves and pants, too, if the weather wasn't so hot here. Most hobbies have some sort of hazard to them, but until you get into gardening, most people don't realize how dangerous it can be!

    Andrea - You're right. I was completely lost in my 'future' garden, not the one I was presently working in! I am going to try to concentrate more on the task at hand, and daydream when I'm sitting down!

    Mark and Gaz - That has been the best thing about getting old. I now wear eyeglasses which have protected my eyes from many pokes. A bamboo stem sounds like it could have done some permanent damage. Glad you healed fairly quickly. Did you feel like a pirate wearing your eye patch? Good point about the footwear!

  7. Well I hope you are better soon. Just reminded me of all the aches and pains I'll have as the season progresses. I think all most of us care about is getting out there and the enjoyment part of gardening. Take care.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  8. I hope you recover soon. Another thing we gardeners need to be aware of is tetanus injections if we get a bad cut while out in the garden.

  9. Holley, I have been injured more times than I can count. I broke my foot trying to jump over a sidewalk bed once ... dropped a wooden pallet on that same fence another time, raising a hematoma that was the most painful thing EVER (the skin on your foot is not designed to stretch that much).

    Your roses are gorgeous!

  10. "Before picking a flower, my granddaughter asks, "Will this one bite?". "

    What a sweet girl! Yeah, I don't like when plants "bite" either. :-)

  11. Good Lord, woman! At least now you won't need to hurt yourself for the rest of the season - you took care of everything in one fell swoop. I've only had one really nasty gardening injury in 20 years, and that was at my volunteer job at an historic home and garden nearby. I scraped my leg on a rusty water post in one of the gardens and ended up getting a tetanus shot. The only really nasty pest we have here is a big, fat brown spider that lives in our soil. I have severe arachnaphobia, and I cringe every time I unearth one of the bastards. As the sergeant used to say on "Hill Street Blues", "Let's be safe out there"!

  12. Sunray - Yes, definitely enjoy spring! It's just easy to over-do sometimes!

    Leavesnbloom - Good point! A tetanus shot is often overlooked.

    Cindy - Oh, you're making ME hurt! Thankfully, I haven't broken anything yet! I hope you're very careful this year.

    Gale - With so many roses in my garden, she learned fast! I was hoping to raise a rosarian, but I think she's already prejudiced against them!

  13. Oh dear, they say Australia is a dangerous place, but my garden's got nothing on yours!

  14. Bitten by a spider twice! You really are having bad luck. I think the worst I've ever done is gotten a sore back and that's easily remedied with a hot bath.

  15. Dear Holley, I am so sorry you had a bad week, and hope you recover soon. I hurt myself lifting very heavy rocks, but I learned my lesson. I just wish spring would truly arrive in my garden, so I can get out there. It's snowing again. P. x

  16. Who knew that gardeners were such daredevils? Every step, every breath is a danger! :) Sorry you had such a rough time of it, and hope you're already back out there being a force of nature yourself.

  17. Holley, hope you feel better soon. Gardening is a dangerous hobby, if not an expensive one. Moving around bags of mulch, compost, then digging and moving around pavers, it all results in aches, bruises and cuts that require bandaids, neosporin and advil. Have to save the worst is trying to prune thorny roses in the breeze, which is pretty much a constant in West Texas in the spring.

  18. Ouch! Sorry to hear about your injuries. Did you mention splinters? Gnats in the eyes and ears? Deer ticks that you can't really see?

    It is a hazardous hobby but then what hobby doesn't have it hazards?

  19. Holley, for goodness sake, I am ticking off the obstacles one by one. Snakes - no, spiders - none that cause problems other than hysteria from the woman of the house, and sun - well yes it has been known to cause a little redness. Please take care and I hope you are fighting fit soon.

  20. Susan - I hope I'm through hurting myself for the rest of the year! You are either lucky or good at concentrating on the task at hand not have been hurt in such a long time. I'm not afraid of spiders - maybe I should be since we have both the black widow and the brown recluse. Your spider sounds a bit like what we call the 'wolf spider'. Don't know it's real name, but it's spongy, and just pops back up when stepped upon!

    gippslandgardener - I would think Australia would have all sort of creepy-crawlies we don't have here!

    Marguerite - I was working in the rose bushes at the time, and I thought it was just thorns poking me. Wish I had realized it was a spider before he bit me the second time! Fortunately, it wasn't a serious bite.

    Pam - Snow again! Wow! I guess maybe I'm not too far behind on my garden chores then, if you haven't even really started spring yet!

    Stacy - I'll be back out there soon! I think my leg just needs a couple more days' rest. It's in the green and purple stage now.

    Lynn - Yes, I hate the wind at times. It never seems to be blowing the right way. Stay safe around those rose thorns!

    Marcia - I forgot to mention those! We are (sometimes painfully) aware there are hazards, but I bet most people that don't garden would never think it.

    Alistair - No snakes? No bad spiders? You are missing out on some of life's most heart-stopping moments! :)

  21. Stinging things - wasps, for example. They nest in my shrubs, frequently.

    Also, I want your baby chain saw!

  22. Here in CT the worst thing for me has been repeated bouts of Lyme disease. We also have a week or two of gnats that bite and have been known to cause very bad infections.

  23. After the first few I thought your list was going to be all of the things that have happened to you this week... I started skimming ahead in concern... snakes! scorpions! saws!

    Then I was relieved that most of those were just potential issues (fingers crossed).

    Plus it looks like if it begins with the letter "S", look out!

  24. Cynthia - I don't like wasps. Bees I'll take, but wasps just irritate me. I love my little chain saw! Just the perfect size for me.

    Jayneonweedstreet - Lyme disease can be very serious. Repeated bouts sounds terrifying. I hope those gnats don't decide to move to Texas!

    Alan - I would have considered getting a 'blow and mow' man if I had had all those listed happen to me in one week! :)

  25. Gardening can be dangerous. Sometimes I space out a little and that is when accidents can happen. We do a lot of high pruning so I would have to add ladders to the list too. There have been numerous times when I 'almost" had an accident and that always makes me pay more attention.

    Hope that leg gets better soon.

  26. Digital Flower Picture - I worry a bit about the day I'll need to hedge my hollies on a ladder. You're right - ladders can be one of the most dangerous tools in the garden! I, too, 'space out' a lot. That's something I need to quit doing! Thanks for commenting.

  27. I hope you're feeling better!

  28. Thanks, Mac - After a week of propping my leg up and hobbling around, I now feel like I can get back out there and tackle those stones! (With more concentration on the task this time!)


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