FRIDAY FLOWERS: IN MAY

The week in flowers. Actually, it was a short week as I was away until two days ago.

You may have seen this posted on my Instagram and Facebook page, but for the rest of you…
my first morning back home was very peaceful, sitting right here!

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A bouquet from the garden, yesterday:

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Louisiana Iris, Teddy Bear:
Year three and they are thriving!

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The last peony of the year, with some more snapdragons:

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It’s a holiday weekend, so I’ll be taking a short break.
See you later next week!

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SUN PROTECTION FOR GARDENERS

Using sun screen protection while gardening is very important. No matter where you live, or how old you are, it is an issue we all need to consider.

So how do we protect ourselves when out in the garden? I spend hours outside in the strong, hot Southern sun and, as I’ve gotten older, my skin reacts badly to the smallest amount of sun. I wear strong sunscreen on my face every day of the year and now I try to wear SPF clothing.

Coolibar
recently asked if I would try out some of their “Sun Protection You Wear” clothing and talk about it in a blog post.

UPDATE

For the month of May, Coolibar is offering a 15% off coupon code on any item!!!
Use ACS15 when you check out. And, they will donate $1.00 for every order to the American Cancer Society. Nice for everyone, so I hope you will take advantage of this offer!

This is what they sent me and what I have been testing for a few days:

Coolibar Clothing
On the left is the Ruche Swim Shirt in Nectarine
On the right is the Santa Cruz Reversible Hat in Graphite

And here I am wearing them in the garden:

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I honestly cannot say enough good things about these products. The hat fits well, is sturdy and well made, it’s washable and I like the gray that doesn’t show  finger prints from my dirty garden gloves.  The top is comfortable and, while it is long sleeved and can get hot, this is necessary for me; but it breathes and feels very lightweight. I’ve washed the top twice and it’s just like new; I’ve also worn it on my morning walks and am very pleased.

To add some information and interest to all this I thought I might contact some of my blogger/ gardener friends and ask them a few questions about their “sun protection habits.”
These are the questions I asked each person:

1) Do you wear any special clothing, while out gardening, to protect from the sun? Do you worry more about hat i.e. face, or arms, or legs, or everything?

2) Do you always apply sunscreen? What brand(s) do you like?

3) Do you always, sometimes, or never wear a hat? Any particular kind?

4) Have you become more sun conscious as you have gotten older?

My participants, and their wonderful gardening blogs, are linked below. I hope you will visit them!

Linda Vater of Potager
Lynne of Sensible Gardening
Marian St. Clair of Hortitopia
Kelly Clifford Wilkniss of My Soulful Home
Erin Schanen of The Impatient Gardener

1) As it turns out, not many people wear special clothing for sun protection. Hats (see #3) are a separate category. Long sleeves are worn when needed, but then again, it get hot out there! Marion’s garden is mostly shaded, so she’s not as concerned about protective clothing.

2) Everyone applies sunscreen and it’s usually at least a 45 SPF. Kelly added: “While gardening here in the California sunshine I wear thick sunscreen usually from a stick so it is easy to reapply as the day wears on & the sunscreen wears off.”  Marion recommends Bull Frog Water Armor Sport SPF 40 which is water resistant and dries clear and quickly.

Erin says:  “For the past three years I’ve only used chemical-free sunscreens on my face. Some of the stuff in sunscreen is worse than the effects of the sun! I haven’t found a brand I love yet but I like Coolio.” I have to admit, I hadn’t really thought about this. Here is an article all about the chemicals in many sunscreen products.

3) Lynne had a unique response regarding hats! She said:  “I hate hats but try to wear them if I’m going to be out in the direct sun for any length of time. The best hats I have ever found were while visiting my son in Taiwan. These are what the farm workers wear over there and believe me they know their stuff! I’ve attached a picture of my 2 favorite garden hats.”

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Another option is to wear a visor: it protects your face and also keeps hair in place.
Marion also pointed out the importance of wearing eye protection: “Vision and eye protection (from bright light, sprays, splash, insects, and stray objects) is also very important and something more people should think about.”

4) Everyone agrees that sun protection has become more important as we age. No more baby oil and iodine and foil! “I’m particularly concerned about my face and hands. I try to wear gloves as much as possible too. All in all I try to limit my direct exposure to the blaring sun and garden more in the mornIng and early evening,” says Lynne.

Finally, take a look at this video. Linda Vater appears regularly on the Oklahoma City television program “4 Your Garden” (KFOR)
In the video Linda discusses “Protective Gear” for gardeners; you can also read more about what she has to say, including her recommendation of Coolibar clothing, in her blog post
Stylish and Protective Gardening Attire

The Coolibar website has everything you need to protect your skin from the sun! I’ve been a fan of theirs for several years, with my post “Sun Protection Clothing: Ideas and Suggestions” from two years ago.

Many thanks to Linda, Lynne, Marian, Kelly and Erin for taking the time to answer my questions!

Remember: May is Skin Cancer Awareness MonthLet us know if you have any comments or thoughts about this important issue: how do YOU  deal with the sun?

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Full disclosure: I was provided products by Coolibar but all words and opinions are my own.

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FRIDAY FLOWERS: PEONIES

It’s that time of year again!

Peonies

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This might be Moonstone, but I’m not sure. The established plant came with the house.

 

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And this one is, I think, Sarah Bernhardt. Any one know for sure? It might be a little too deep in color. In any case, it’s gorgeous and always flowers about a week later.

 

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I played with light levels here to get this washed out look; nice with the white flowers…

The leaves in these two images are Solomon’s Seal/ polygonatum. I had actually never heard of it until we moved here and a friend gave me a few cuttings. Not much happened for two years, but now…they have exploded. Mine are in partial shade and loving it.

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And some more of the variegated Solomon’s Seal in a mixed bouquet:

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More peonies in the afternoon shadows:

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That’s it for this week; I’m off to New York for a few days to work a trade show, see friends, hang out with daughter, eat some good food and yes, maybe shop.

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