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This thread is in reply to a blog post by LysmachiaMoon entitled "Viburnum and Red Twig Dogwood into the Pine Gap".
Name: Jane
Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a)
The "Garden" is my Happy Place!
Garden Ideas: Master Level
May 19, 2015 6:12 PM CST
Hi Annie,
All my life, in one form or another, I've spent lots of time outside. Got to say though, I've never gotten poison ivy. Yet, bugs love me! Mosquito bites aren't just bites ... with me they itch, swell, and usually get infected. My most recent nemesis though is ... chiggers! At least with mosquitoes, you can hear and usually see them coming. I swear chiggers are invisible! And to me they make me itch 10 times worse then mosquitoes. With them since I don't start itching right away, it's easy to forget about them. If I am dilligent and take a shower right after I'm done putzing outside, I'm OK. If not ... calamine lotion is my best friend for 5 days or so. It also helps immensely if I remember to spray myself with insect repellent before I go outside to putz around in the garden.

Though they work well, I hate the smell of insect repellents. Last year though I stumbled onto something else that really works well for me and smells great! Bath & Bodyworks sells an aroma therapy body mist that's made with lavender and chamomile. It's really marketed as a "sleep aid", but I found it really works well to ward off pesky biting insects. At least for me, it does. I'll either spray myself before I get dressed, or spray my clothes and exposed areas. I usually apply it only once and I can work in peace outside for about 3-4 hours. Usually, after that amount of time, I'm done for the day.

To change the subject, I also recently went and bought myself a pair of CROCS to work outside. Real comfortable. I'd forgotten how comfortable they were. I used to wear them years ago when I worked in the gift shop of a local resort. I was on my feet all day and they felt absolutely great.

In the gardening realm, I've been busy potting up or planting out my seedlings. I don't do veggies, just plants and flowers. Usually, they don't really take off til mid-July. Up here, the past few summers have been cool and a bit rainy. I'm kind of wondering if this coming summer is going to be hot and dry? We did have temps in the 80's for about a week or 2 awhile back and really not a lot of rain since then. And the temps have been up overall. Just got to wait and see.

Happy gardening,

Name: Annie
Waynesboro, PA (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry
May 21, 2015 5:17 AM CST
Chiggers we don't have, mosquitoes I got...but this spring I remembered to put those "Dunks" in the water barrels so not so bad. I am definitely going to get a bottle of the Bath & Bodyworks lavender mist. I'd rather use something like that than heavy chemicals. Poison ivy is something I've just learned to live with here. Where I grew up, there was absolutely none. The first people who built in Parkhill kept cows and left them to roam the woods and I think they must have eaten any that was there. We kids ran like wild Indians through those woods all summer and never got an itch. Down here...the stuff is rampant. When I kept sheep they ate it all up throughout the pasture, so that area is still relatively clear, but there's so much of it everywhere else (along the road, in the tall trees between farm fields) that it keeps popping up on my property too. Especially where there are trees...I think the birds eat the berries, sit in a tree, poop, and there you go.
A woman told me to wash within 1/2-1 hour of any exposure with COLD water and dish detergent, the harsher the better. Rinse rinse rinse, then wipe a paper towel saturated with rubbing alcohol over the area (WIPE, not rub). I've been doing this for quite a few years and rarely get a very bad rash... But whenever I fail to do this, I get it.

We had a spell of very hot dry weather here last week, but now we're into some very cool and rainy days. I dont know what the summer will bring. I do believe that the higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air seems to make trees/shrubs grow a lot faster...I was just marvelling over a mimosa that I planted just 2 years ago. It was barely hip high, now it's well over 10 feet!

I'm really dragging my feet over the veg garden this spring. I realize I'd much rather be working with flowers/landscape. It's such a struggle against weeds and groundhogs I'm beginnign to wonder if it's worth it for a few jars of beans and tomato sauce.

Happy gardening, Annie
The end is nothing, the journey is all.

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