Here are some big don’t, don’t, don’ts

Things I have learned about living and gardening in the tropics.

Never ever pull a vine off of a tall tree. Trust me. You have no idea what’s living up there. I pulled a vine from a tall tree one time. Evidently the inhabitants did not like being disturbed and expressed themselvesĀ  by biting and stinging and generally crawling around on me looking for more tender spots to bite and sting. I took off for the house where my thumb swelled to twice its size and really really hurt. I said bad words.

Don’t garden barefoot. That used to
be my delight. Now I wear boots.

Never walk on a hillside after a rain. Not only is the grass slippery but so is the soil. I ruined a good pair of slacks like that recently, and I really should have known better since I had already made a mess of several pairs of shorts.

You have no idea what is hiding in tall grass. Not just snakes and scorpions and spiders, although they are the most feared, but nasty prickly plants that can draw blood and coils of vines that are worming their way across the grass looking for a tree to climb. You can fall flat on your face in a second if one of them grabs you. Oh, and mossy rocks are good for that flat-on-your-face thing too. Then there are the other bugs. Although fire ants prefer short grass, there are always those individualists . . . . Plus the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are born from water but hide in tall grass and under trees when they aren’t actively on the hunt.

Then there are the things you do that aren’t legal that you didn’t know about. Take orchids for example. The point is you can’t take them, not unless they are on a downed limb or tree. Taking them from living trees is illegal. And tree ferns are another that you might find and think about transplanting, simply because they are amazing, prehistoric, and a former favorite of dinosaurs, really a living fossil. But don’t. They are also protected by law.

And just a few more:

1.) That sun is hot. Wear a hat when you garden and try to get one with that ugly flap that covers your neck (I need to find one of those.)

2.) You can burn even if you wear sunscreen.

3.) Biting flies don’t seem to be deterred by Off.

4.) Look before you grab onto a tree for support. A lot of these trees have thorns and some of them go right through gloves

So, those are just a few things I have learned in the last three years. If you want to add to the list, just drop me a line.

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