Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Garden Fashionista in Bug Bite Gear

I have a bit of a cold and am in a bit of a cranky mood on account of biting insects and the unpredictable spring weather we have been experiencing. 

First, the weather was too darn hot! In the final days of May the thermometer climbed over thirty for the several day in a row. It was so warm in our bedroom at night, that I felt that I was lying on a baking sheet cooking in an oven. I was just not mentally prepared summer heat in the month of May. 

Then, the first days of June brought rain almost every morning. 

The rain was most welcome as it has been a very dry spring, after a snowless winter. Everything was simply parched after such an extended dry spell! 

Next door, the damage caused by the lack of rainwater was all to apparent in the trees that the Region of Peel planted late last fall. Sadly, they are crispier than Kentucky Fried Chicken! Unfortunately, the early June showers arrived too late to revive them. 

Knowing how slowly the wheels of government turn, I am sure we will have to wait months for them to be replaced.

The rains brought cooler temperatures with them, which was a very welcome relief! Today however, it was almost fall like. This serves to make wardrobe selection in the morning challenging. Shorts and sunglasses or warm jacket and long pants?

Meadow rue in the back circle garden

On top of being cooked in May, I was also eaten alive! The early spring heat brought out the black flies in great numbers. Now if you ask me, black flies are far worse than wretched mosquitoes. Before they bite their victim, black flies like to torture you first by ping, ping, pinging into your face and eyes. Then, when they are just out of site, they like to sink their teeth into the back of your neck or bite you just behind your ears. 

I went out to weed the garden and they were on me like a pack of voracious wolves. After a just a couple of minutes, I was ready to wave the white flag of surrender and hand over my garden to them. I beat a hasty retreat to the house and my husband mopped up the blood tricking down the back of my neck from the open bites. He was horrified to see that, in a matter of minutes, that I had amassed fifteen bites on my face and neck.

The very next day, he arrived home from work with a mesh headnet. Not unlike a ski mask, the mesh "bag" slips over your head to prevent insects from biting. Though I was grateful for his thoughtfulness, I slipped the headnet over my head and felt completely ridiculous. 

"Oh, this is attractive don't you think?" I asked him, striking a model's pose, "I look like I should be robbing a convenience store, not gardening!"

"I can just imagine", I continued,"our neighbors calling the police to report a suspicious character lurking in our backyard."
You too can get outfitted with similar bug armor at Lee Valley Tools!

Despite my ungrateful rant, I did appreciate his gift. The black fly bites had by then swollen up into large, itchy red welts and so good looks be damed, I put on my face mask and headed back out into the garden. Thankfully, black flies are at their worst for only a few short weeks.


  1. Hasn't it been a strange spring. And now it is going to rain again all weekend. It does make it difficult to cut the hayfield we now have in our backyard. The joys of a weekend house, lol.

  2. Gardening in Canada really does take the will of steel and skin as thick as an elephant. Sadly we've got this image that we should be able to glide around with a rose basket on one arm wearing a lovely embroidered blouse with big pockets and a smashing hat with ribboned brim. The Lee Valley family is probably closer to the reality that many of us have to pursue. They really make me giggle. Good luck with the bites and thanks for sharing your good photos & gardening tales.


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