It’s probably too late for me. Smooth, milky white skin just isn’t in the cards. I’m young enough that I grew up wearing sunscreen at the beach – but old enough that it was bright orange oil called suntan lotion and had an SPF of 4. Now I slather on tablespoons of SPF 30 a few times a day until the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide turn my already brown skin a pasty shade of zombie. I’ve heard that if skin cancer isn’t a scary enough prospect, now we’re supposed to be worried about death and disease by nanoparticles in our sunscreen! What to do?! I had a chance to contemplate all of this while up to my elbows in greenhouse shading. Plants get sunburned too and Julie protected some of her children with a parasol. Now that the shading is on (again!), I might borrow the umbrelly for me… Most of the plants are out of the big greenhouse now and the little one will continue to be home to terrariums, some begonias and the cutting bench residents.
One way to avoid damage from the sun and scary sunscreen is to stay indoors. But that’s just not a practical option for us gardeners and garden appreciators. Think of all you’d miss! — like this Salvia lanceolata (left). It’s a short guy with greyer than greygreen foliage and an early flower (at least for us since it came out of the greenhouse). And Symphytum x uplandicum ‘Axminster Gold’ (right). It’s about 12″ tall now with 3-4″ serrated, pointed, variegated green and yellow leaves. Both might glow a little in the dark but the subtle details would disappear!