Pets, Prickly Holly and Poison Ivy – Beware Garden Hazards

Gardeners beware it’s a jungle out there! Hazards exist in every walk of life but if your going to choose Gardening as a career or a hobby then there are a few things you need to be wary of.

Dried Ilex or Holly leaves can be a gardeners nightmare, fortunately with leaf blowers and shredders you can tackle this thorny problem. All evergreens will lose a large amount of their leaves during the summer months and whilst cleaning under shrubs and bushes best beware of the prickly holly leaf, tough gloves and lashings of courage is the only way to deal with dried holly leaf spines.

lucianaeris / Pixabay

Man’s best friend maybe cute and loveable but Gardeners beware faeces and urine, not something you want to have to deal with on a daily basis.

Gloves a must, doggy bags at the ready. Every good gardener will carry a range of tools and accessories in a gardeners trug or basket.

Whilst working in the garden, ensure hand sanitizer, wet wipes and a small eye wash are at hand! Remember to keep an emergency first aid kit fully stocked, if you employee a gardener or gardeners then, make sure you purchase a first aid kit appropriate to the number of staff on site.

javallma / Pixabay

Grasses make a great display in mixed borders soft delicate mounds of brightly coloured grass in the spring and long flowing arches of leaves and flowers in the Autumn but beware of their sharp edges. Clearing around grasses in Autumn needs to be done with caution, lacerations can be painful especially on your fingers or hands so wear protection and take care when handling.

paulbr75 / Pixabay

Silver foliage always looks great in a garden border contrasting with all the flowers and bold foliage, often delicately cut or frilled silver leaves can also carry a light dust that can also be an irritant. When handling silver foliage shrubs best wear gloves and keep them away from exposed skin.

12019 / Pixabay

Several plants carry this dusty bloom that can cause shortness of breath if breathed in and rashes in hot sun on your arms and legs. Phlomis (jerusalem sage) and Viburnum rhytidophyllum (Wrinkled Viburnum) are typical example’s of shrubs whose leaves have this coating that falls of when disturbed.

Planting a thicket of thorny shrubs may seem like a great way to keep out trespassers but when it comes to maintaing your hedge your left with a prickly scenario.

Great caution is advised as is a strong pair of gauntlet gloves, some plants will irate the skin once they have pierced the flesh and it will vary from one person to the next, personally I find Pyracanthra to be one of the worst but some people will not feel any further irritation.

Poison Ivy a nasty creeping vine that can cause severe blistering and asphyxiation for anyone who suffers an allergy to this troublesome weed. Dried leaves can remain toxic for several years so best avoided at all costs, another reason for wearing gloves and not touching your face or skin whilst working in the Garden.

When Gardening think once think twice, think of health and safety issues affecting you and think about the safety of others around you!

Stephen raised on a farm in Mid Wales, trained in horticulture under apprenticeship with the National Trust and has worked in several prestigious locations around the world. Today as Head gardener for a large private estate on the outskirts of London, Stephen is a keen plantsman, horticulturalist and nature lover.

Managing large formal gardens, growing a huge range of fruit, vegetables and homemade produce for the estate residents. Stephen with assistance from a team of professional garden and farm staff, cares for livestock, including cattle, sheep, poultry and horses, completes property maintenance and grounds management.

Stephen believes knowledge is to be shared and thanks to some amazing mentors in his career path hopes to be able to share this knowledge with gardeners like you and your gardening friends! All we ask is in return is that you find the time to leave a brief comment and share socially with your friends.

Grow with me on


Stephen Pryce-Lea

Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consultant




“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“

iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.


About Head Gardener 334 Articles
Award winning, 40 something year old professional plantsman and horticulturalist with National Trust, private parks and estate management background. My vast plant knowledge and hands on techinical experience, afforded me the opportunity to work in various horticultural landscapes, in the UK, USA & Eastern Europe. Having worked in both garden retail & the design service industry gave me the practical diversity and managerial skill set, required for running a large prestigious gardens and stately homes. I strongly believe knowledge is to be shared and have worked closely with people and staff of all ages and abilities keen to develop their passion for gardening, including groups of children, special needs and adults. I have hosted guided walks, talks and tours for those keen to learn about cultivated and wild plants, garden development, history and design. As an member of the NNCPG and National Trust, I am actively involved in the preservation of several important plant collections both in public and private gardens throughout the UK. “It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, in a garden it’s paradise” Follow @IGrowHort on GardenTags. Stephen is passionate about gardening as Head Gardener with a team of ten staff he manages a prestigious Cheshire country estate of 55 acres, inc wild flower meadows, woodland, organic kitchen and formal gardens. Follow Stephen today”


    • Thats great to hear! Do you also blog about you gardening? Would love to check it out if you do always interested in reading other bloggers work. Thanks for your visit, come by anytime for a chat always happy to share tips and answer any gardening questions you may have.

    • Thanks Tiffany you never now perhaps one day you will get to travel, but it is surprising what can be achieved with a small garden, backyard, balcony or even a window ledge. Thanks very much for dropping by it is much appreciated, I plan to write a blog post about managing a small garden or containers really soon! Hope you visit again.

  1. I used to get this really painful, burning rash and blame the ants on it. It seems that we have a plant growing in our backyard that has been causing it to me. Sometimes it’s the little, inoffensive looking causing all the trouble.

    • Totally agree it’s surprising that so many plants can cause us irritations! Appreciate your visit and hope you will find my future articles of interest. Thanks very much. Stephen

  2. Great tips for not forgetting to wear gloves when removing the silver foliage, and I agree dogs have no job in the gardens because yet they are animals and flowers and gardens should be preserved.

  3. I have to admit that most of this advice goes over my head as I was born not with a green thumb, but more like black, LOL. I must admit though, there is so much to learn about gardening that I think people often over look the “dangerous” and unpleasant stuff, so your post is great for that!

  4. One of my uncle is into landscaping/gardening business back in Melbourne, and they have beautiful flowers in the garden. Personally, almost zero knowledge in gardening, but thanks for sharing all the knowledge. =)

  5. I acknowledge I do not have a green thumb at all, but I like staying in well-kept gardens for its calming effect. Allergy is really a big problem with a lot of people so be careful. And yes, dogs should ideally not be allowed in gardens. – Fred

  6. I once used to deal with gardening way back then, when I was in province. And somehow, I learned again after reading this post. Thanks a lot, this is a must-read for every aficionado out there.

  7. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me out loads.

    I hope to give a contribution & aid other customers like its aided me.
    Good job.

  8. I always worry about poison ivy as the shape does mimic other local plantings. I have poison ivy as a child and it was a total nightmare… WE have prickly holly in front of my home and when I trim it, I’m super careful too.

    • A friend of mine recently had a nasty reaction to poison ivy, so it gave me the idea to raise awareness to the hazards that are so common place in many of our gardens. Thanks for your visit and kind comments.

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