By dressing up, I don’t mean you’ve got to look like Lady Gaga – although I think the plants would quite like that but it is important to be dressed in some “no-nonsense” practical garden wear which will make sure you are protected from the sun, angry bees, mud and all other side effects of having a garden.
Here are some tips on what to wear while gardening that I have gathered from my personal experience.
- Long Sleeve shirts: Protect yourself from sun rays by wearing loose long sleeve t-shirts or shirts. Your clothes have to be loose enough to allow you to stretch and bend.
- Loose baggy trousers: Do not wear shorts or three quarters to your garden unless you want to sport a different shade of skin for your lower part of the body. Wear loose thick trousers preferably with lots of pockets for you to keep your mobile phone/camera in along with some handy gardening tools.
- No tight elastic or poky belts please: Tight elastics and belts with metal buckles tend to tear into your skin when you do bend to do your gardening chores. Avoid these but at the same time secure your trousers so that you don’t have to worry about it slipping down.
- Light colored clothes: It has been proven that mosquitoes and flies prefer dark colored clothes. So wear light colored clothes to your garden to avoid getting mobbed.
I have bought many really nice thick garden gloves just to shove them in my pockets in about 10 minutes after I start work in my garden as they are unwieldy and come in my way when I try to do some gentle stuff like getting a creeper to crawl somewhere etc. So what I do now is that I have 2 sets of garden gloves – 1. the really nice thick canvas ones which I use while pruning and operating with my thorny plants etc and 2. Tight fitted strong elastic ones for weeding, mixing soil etc.
A nice wide rimmed straw hat or a floppy hat would do just fine. Any hat with a wide rim should be good for protecting you from the sunlight. While choosing a hat, choose something that is light (since you would have to do a lot of work wearing it) and stain resistant. Cloth hats are a no no since they can get stained easily. A straw hat can be cleaned with water and put out to dry. Whichever hat you wear, make sure you wear a bandana underneath it. If you don’t have a fancy bandana, just take a square piece of cloth, fold it in a triangular way, place it on your head and tie the 2 small ends at the back of your head. This helps in absorbing the sweat, keeps stray hair in check and avoids getting it dirty and messy.
Sunscreen: Gardens are a common place where one risks chances of getting sun burnt. Don’t forget to apply a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (at least 15-20) after you moisturize. Apply it on all parts of your body which are exposed to the sun. While gardening one tends to sit down or bend over and the back of the neck is exposed to the sun. Make sure you have it covered with sunscreen. Re-apply the sunscreen every 2-3 hrs or when needed for retaining its effect.
If you are in the garden for a quick “Let me see if my seeds have sprouted visit”, slip into your flip flops. If it is a planned visit to the garden for a longer time then turn to your OLD, sturdy but flexible boots, wellingtons or sport shoes. I used to have a pair of old sneakers that I proudly used to flaunt as I used the very same to trek the blue mountain range in Southern India – it had tiger scat and elephant dung over it and I never washed it ever. It was soon relegated to being my garden shoe as it was worn-in, comfortable and had excellent padding for the sole – this is especially required for a garden shoe as it needs to provide adequate support when you to bend, sit down while weeding etc.