Friday, 6 June 2014

Hedges, they can be the death of you.

 Both daughters have a strong work ethic. Since the age of five, both were made to endure long days helping in the family gardening business during school holidays, as that is just what had to happen. They were taught that one must work to get anything out of life, and not to just sit back and let the state take the strain, even if that is the easier and more profitable option.
At the moment, elder daughter is working twelve hour shifts, with an eighty four hour week ahead of her at Poole hospital. Meanwhile, during the holiday week that she has taken from her place of work, youngest daughter is spending the entire time helping out her old man gardening.
 
 
Things are growing like crazy, and as a result, hedges are going bonkers. It seems as though I have been doing this gardening lark for ever, and so tend to take things for granted, and safety measures in my stride, without even thinking about them. It was to this end that I had to remind myself to educate her as to the perils of the common hedge. As gardeners, we all know that the common Yew (Taxus baccata) is poisonous, as are Common Privets (Ligustrum vulgare) and Common Box (Buxus sempervirens). But a lot of people outside the gardening world don't really understand just how bad Laurels are. They contain cyanide and benzaldehyde, and on pruning, the familiar almond smell becomes very apparant. When using secateurs, as youngest is using here, there will not be a problem, as long as she doesn't pick her nose too much, or forget to wash her hands before eating, but if a hedge trimmer is used, and a lot of clippings bagged up and stored in the van, it can be a different story. Even worse, sometimes a small amount of leaves can be picked up using the lawn mower, and it's this maceration of the leaves that is the main problem. The odour can be very nice and 'marzipany', but there have been many cases of poisoning from this, and in some cases, the van driver passing out.
 
The moral of the story? Keep your trimmings in the trailer.
 
 
Fortunately, the only thing that youngest suffered from at the end of yesterday was aching hands from all that secateur work.
 
The entire family is off for a picnic at a castle tomorrow.
 
Have a good weekend!


10 comments:

  1. I learned something on your blog today. I don't have those shrubs but my neighbors might have them.

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    1. That almond smell might be nice Red, but it does tell of the monster within. Hope your weekend is going well.

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  2. The next Agatha Christie book ... Death by Hedge !

    I wouldn't know most of what you said since I don't live with any of the plants you have. But I do know the Common Box but had know idea it was poisonous.

    Goodness.
    cheers, parsnip

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  3. Hi Parsnip,
    The Common Laurel is, well, quite common here, and so we come across it a lot. Ha ha, as far as Agatha Christie goes, it has been done. A google search may reveal some interesting stories.

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  4. I live and learn. Not that this is knowledge I'm likely to need. The only gardening I've done in years is to take a JCB to Rhododendron.

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  5. Sometime you learn about poisonous plants the hard way. I knew that Euphorbia sap could burn your skin. However over many years of handling them, I never found it was the case - that is until I needed to pee just after pulling out with bare hands a large Euphorbia. You can imagine the rest - my hands were OK!

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    1. Hi Alain,
      Now THAT is learning the hard way! I do hope things recovered well (he said, trying to hide the grin)

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    2. They did, after the skin had peeled off!

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  6. There is just something about a nicely pruned hedge…. apart from the lethal bit.

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