(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 18, 2007. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions.)
Gardening attire selections are sometimes disclosed in weekly DG Voting Booth polls. There have been polls on winter gardening garb, favorite gloves, and footwear choices. Faux pas, however, are rarely discussed, perhaps because infrequently admitted.
Beware windy days.
Of course we select our headgear based upon the day’s wind velocity, but other considerations should be made as well. I should have known it was too windy to be planting the day the wind caught my plastic bucket of water and sent it hopping and skipping across the yard, slopping water in its wake. Another good clue should have been when the soil that came out of the hole I was digging went right back in. But I didn’t know. And I didn’t know until the loose-fitting top I was wearing flew right over my head. It was innocent enough to begin with. I simply wore a waist-length loose top with short sleeves. I was down on all fours planting away, when WHOOSH! -- my secret, Victoria’s Secret that is, was exposed to the little old man watering his petunias next door. The sleeves kept the shirt on, but what should have covered my torso was now covering my head. I tried to shriek, but was detained by a mouth full of shirt. Lesson learned, dignity lost.
Heed the southern exposure.
We all do this, don’t we? Or maybe we just think we do. I weed using the proper technique, down on all fours, fanny rising in the air like Mt. Everest. One day last summer, I prepared to shower after a long day of weeding. Our bathroom, unfortunately, has an entire wall of mirrors. As I discarded my shirt in readiness to shower, the wall of mirrors revealed a horizontal strip of sunburn low on my back. The redness seemed to disappear below my waistline. Cautiously, I lowered my shorts. Truth held me frozen. “Say it isn’t so,” I cried out. Nobody answered. I haven’t made jokes at a plumber’s expense since that day.
Never garden nude.
I’m unaware of a Voting Booth poll on this one, but it stands to reason that somebody somewhere has done some pruning in the buff. If you live in the country far from any neighbors, or if you have a privacy fence or tall hedge that prevents discovery, why not? Enjoying nature au naturel surely appeals to many. One could certainly save money on a tanning booth. Times, however, are changing. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Big Brother is watching, he is taking pictures. Have you ever heard of GPS, Global Positioning System? What about Google Earth? When I put my address into Google Earth, an aerial view, complete with cars in the driveway is shown.
So back to wearing only skin while gardening. If I were to, say, weed in the position aforementioned, and they snapped the Google Earth photo, I would no doubt have the National Guard on my doorstep to examine and identify the large strange blob in my yard. On the other hand if the National Guard doesn’t bother you, or having your own large strange blob on the internet for all to see isn’t worrisome, bathe yourself in some SPF50 and prune, prune, prune!
Garden clothing mishaps can be embarrassing, but frequently good comes of them. My grandfatherly neighbor’s petunias, for example, haven’t been thirsty since a windy day last summer.