Garden lore: protecting arms

Puttees. But for lower arms. We have large swathes of bromeliads that need an occasional clean out of accumulated debris and dead foliage. Many bromeliads have finely prickled edges that can rip arms to shreds and will find the small gap between glove and long sleeves. These are my DIY solution and are equally useful for reaching into many prickly or scratchy plants.

They are just the sleeves from a denim shirt cut to size and elasticised top and bottom and I keep them to hand in my gardening basket. While I find my shredded arms heal remarkably quickly (the reddening and discomfort will disappear overnight if I coat them in that potent  liniment still made by Rawleighs and sold as antiseptic salve), I am mindful that as we age and skin thins, it may be wiser to try and avoid tempting fate. Gardens host all sorts of fungi and bacteria which may not be good on broken skin. I have heard horror stories over the years about bad infections from wounds caused by rose thorns.

The colour match between my puttees and the pair of gardening gloves was mere serendipity.

Look at all those little hooks on the margins of the bromeliad leaves

12 thoughts on “Garden lore: protecting arms

  1. mariamaramanu

    Very clever idea Abbie. I will adopt it. The commercially available ones are not really up to the task. The ultimate test would be if they can protect you from the spikes of Puya sylvestris.
    Mara Manu.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      That one may need leather gloves and puttees! I do not like prickly plants but our bromeliads are such a feature here that I have to make allowances for them. I have removed a fair number of other prickly blighters on the grounds that their disadvantages outweigh their merits.

      1. mariamaramanu

        I agree with the prickly principle but have made an exception with Puya sylvestris because of the extraordinary colour of its flowers, for which, I have to admit, we have been waiting for about 15 years! And somes roses, of course. I have been wondering about bromeliads for some time because of the abundance of shade here so will think some more. Lovely form.

      2. Abbie Jury Post author

        Broms give a luxuriant sub tropical look to woodland and we use them extensively in dry shade. The foliage does not colour as well in shade (particularly noticeable in the red ones) but we live with that. At least they are frost free, easy-care and exotic.

  2. joan byrne

    Thank you for recipe for Brazilian Puffs. Have adapted it to wraps by increasing the eggs to 3 and reducing the tapioca flour a little. It has made a big difference to my gluten free diet. J

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh that is interesting. I will try that. I am not so keen on the doughy wraps that I buy. Do you want the best ever (and easiest and tastiest) cracker recipe that has come my way? It uses spelt flour but if that is a problem, you could experiment with other flours. I have also used it for making corn chips from scratch (on account of the heritage maize crop Mark grew) and am about to try it on oatmeal crackers. It is the technique and proportions that seem to matter more than the ingredients – which are hugely flexible.

  3. joan byrne

    Yes please. I cook the wraps on a griddle where I can tilt to spread. I use half tasty and half mozzarella cheese. The recipe makes between 10 and 12.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I am about to try these wraps tonight (but minus the mozzarella because I do not have any). Herewith the cracker recipe which I can’t credit because I have no idea whose recipe it is. I would give a bouquet if I knew.
      Homemade Crackers
      1/2c pumpkin seeds
      1/2c sunflower seeds
      1/4c flax seeds
      1/4c sesame seeds
      2 tblsp chia seeds
      1 tsp salt flakes
      1c spelt flour
      1/2c water
      1/3 c olive oil
      Set the oven to 180 (160 for fan forced)
      Combine everything in a bowl – it will be a sticky dough.
      Put a piece of baking paper on a large baking tray and put the dough on top.
      Put another piece of baking paper on top of the dough and roll it out 1/2cm thick (5mm)
      Sprinkle with a little extra salt if you like and press it in. Make cuts through it with a knife to make it easier to break into regular pieces after baking but leave it as a sheet.
      Bake 15-20 mins until golden and crisp.
      Cool and break into pieces.

  4. Mark Wilson

    Hi Abbie

    The photo in this weeks Blog had me do a double take in that I thought someone had lost a couple of limbs!! I have been a subscriber to your Blog for a few years now and I just wanted to tell you it is always a great read. I know it must take quite a bit of time but it’s always interesting a contains a wealth of knowledge.

    From my end, I am the new owner of Lifetech Laboratories up in Auckland. Dave and Ruth Purdy sold the business to me 4 years ago. I am aware that you and Mark have had a change in business focus since the ‘old days’ but I recognise the Jury family’s contribution to the New Zealand plantscape.

    If you are ever in Albany, Auckland and have a spare moment, you are welcome to call in for a coffee/tea/cake.

    Best Regards



    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Mark, how kind of you to say this. I really appreciate. Yes it does take time to keep this page going but I enjoy doing it – even more when people tell me how much they enjoy it! We are grateful to be out of the nursery trade but Mark continues with the plant breeding and we are happy beavering away in the garden. Kindest regards, Abbie

  5. tonytomeo

    Embarrassingly, just a few hours ago, I was pulling sedge from one of the side creeks! It was miserable. Even though I did not get sliced too badly, it was so tedious to avoid getting sliced! Gloves and such are so uncomfortable!

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