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Flowers – why can’t they plant themselves?

By Theresa Trant

Two weeks ago I bought flowers to plant. They are still sitting on the picnic table slowly growing out the small pots they came in. I guess you’ve figured out I’m not much of a gardener.

While I enjoy the flowers once they are securely placed in the ground, I have a hard time finding the motivation to get them there. Let’s face it – it is hard work bending, digging, watering, etc.


By the time I’ve reached the fifth pot to plant, my enthusiasm for a colourful front yard is gone. I’m now haphazardly tossing the dirt and flowers in, doing a quick pat down and dumping a glass of water over it.

Yes, it’s hard work. No wonder I never applied for a summer landscaping job in my university days. To me it is an extension of what I can’t seem to do well in my own front yard.

So I applaud those of you who are working in landscaping. You are in a position which is physically demanding. Safety is very important to you, your co-workers and employer. You work with a variety of equipment that, if not operated correctly, could cause you injuries.

I’m hoping you are not surprised that I believe you value your safety! But if you are, make a change and protect yourself. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Wear high-cut CSA certified safety footwear with toe caps and reinforced, non-skid soles.
  • Use approved (e.g., CSA Z94.1) head protection when working under branches or where there may be falling objects.
  • Use appropriate eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) whenever dust or debris may get into your eyes (e.g., when power tilling, breaking up rocks or concrete) or when using strong cleaning agents, spraying or dusting.
  • Wear sturdy, well-fitting gloves with grip.
  • Use vibration-absorbing gloves while operating vibrating equipment.
  • Wear suitable chemical-resistant rubber or plastic gloves when handling fertilizers and pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Wear hearing protection devices (e.g., ear muffs, ear plugs) that provide appropriate protection from noise produced by equipment being used.
  • Protect yourself from the sun – use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and re-apply sunscreen as required throughout the day. Consider wearing lightweight long pants (vs. shorts) and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Wear a brimmed hat and comfortable clothing that provides sun protection.
  • Wear sunglasses that filter out at least 90% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
  • Take regular rest breaks inside. Frequent short pauses are better than longer breaks further apart.
  • Do not wear loose-fitting or torn clothing.
  • These tips and more can be found on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website (

Thinking of what summer landscapers do on daily basis makes me feel a tad guilty my flowers are still on the picnic table. Perhaps I’ll venture out this weekend and get them in their proper places. One can only hope. Oh, and I will wear gloves out there.


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