Home' Outdoors : WAs Best Outdoors and Gardens 2009 Contents 90 WA's Best Outdoors & Gardens 2010
Don't be absorbed by their beauty and make
hasty decisions: exercise caution when you're
planting your diva-plant to be. Consider how it
will grow and where, and avoid planting climbers
Once they're grown, they'll probably
intermingle and if you decide to get rid of one of
them, it'll be incredibly difficult to detangle one
from the other. Regular pruning is the best way to
keep them under control thereafter.
ere are a few climber renegades that are
difficult to buy and you should never accept
seedlings simply because they are pure trouble.
Morning Glory is one of the true baddies; not
only does it strangle everything in its path, but
those with a blue or pink flower drop poisonous
seeds. Grow it over an aviary and you'll have a
cage full of dead feathered friends.
is bacterial baddie is the cause of the well
publicised and potentially life threatening
Legionella is naturally occurring bacteria with
over 40 species, but only a few actually infect you
-- the most common of which in WA is Legionella
Longbeachae, which is distinct from Legionella
Pneumophila, commonly found in warm water
environments such as evaporative air conditioners
Longbeachae is the one that you can become
acquainted with via potting mix, gardening soil
It's all about breathing and hand to mouth
transfer, which is why it's so important you don
your gloves before handling potting mix.
Be sure to open the potting mix in well-
ventilated areas, snipping open a small portion of
the bag and dampening the contents to avoid dust
Don't shake the bag, and when you're sweeping
up -- dampen down the floor first. ere should be
comprehensive instructions on the back of every
bag of potting mix.
Men, watch your back: the Department of
Health reports that males are affected more
commonly than women by Legionella, as well as
anyone who is older or has a weak immune system.
Legionella rarely infects the young, so there's
another reason to force your kids to do the
Symptoms of Legionnaires include fever, severe
headaches and aching muscles and joints. It is
difficult to distinguish Legionella infections from
other pneumonia types and medical tests are
As it stands, physical injury is the leading cause of
death in children aged 0-15. Boys are more likely
to sustain injury than girls, and more than half
of the injuries sustained by kids are in the home,
with falls as the predominant cause of injury.
You might have gathered that it's pretty
important to install your play equipment properly,
supervise your children while they're playing
outside, and ensure you've got all the precautions
in place to avoid nasty accidents.
e Australian Standards for Playgrounds
recommends that height of free falls should not
exceed 2500mm, and 1500mm for early childhood
settings. Adequate fall zones should be created
around all areas of equipment -- that is, there
should be clear space, and no entrapment hazards
within the equipment where a child's head or
other body parts could become stuck.
Trampolines are a classic -- they're impossible
to resist, a great source of exercise and muscle
development, and are bouncing injury traps.
e leading cause of accidents for children 0-14,
trampolines are chock full of potential hazards.
As a result, Australian Standards have published
revised guidelines for trampoline safety -- but
they are just that, so not all trampolines on the
market actually adhere to them, and it's worth
checking any potential purchase includes the
StandardsMark, a symbol which denotes the
quality of the manufacturer and their perceived
ability to produce a safe product which complies
with the Australian Standards.
According to the Department of Housing and
Works, a child under the age of five drowns each
week in a backyard pool.
erefore, fencing laws have been put in place
to prevent unsupervised pool access, but for the
legislation to work, it's important that the barriers
remain effective and functional.
e Royal Life Saving Society of Australia has
identified a few causation factors to keep in
mind: poor supervision or absence; a parental
"vulnerable" period -- that is, when there are
visitors or other domestic distractions; believing
pool safety devices such as retractable ladders or
a lockable cover will provide adequate protection;
the curiosity of children; tempting objects floating
in the water... the list goes on.
Because there are numerous factors, it is
essential that the barriers meet the legislation and
function as they are designed to.
Many plants have poisonous or toxic elements, and
as toddlers don't have fully developed immune
systems, they're naturally weaker and more
susceptible to the shiny, pretty, red berries -- or
to the dainty pretty flowers, or the lush, green
leaves. Mmm. It's a smorgasbord of poison for tots
out there. As a rule, anything with sap that looks
milky is corrosive.
Christmas regular Poinsettia is a perfect
example; both the leaves and the flowers are filled
with toxic sap that burns much like oven cleaner.
Adults should also treat this plant with caution
-- cover exposed skin when you're trimming, cut
from your waist downward to avoid your face, and
don't wipe your face with gloves.
Tip: just because a bird or another animal eats
part of the plant does not mean it's OK for you or
your child to ingest.
e same goes for vegetables -- just because you
can eat part of the plant does not mean you should
eat the others.
Rhubarb leaves are toxic, as are avocado leaves,
and uncooked potatoes and their sprouts are also
Antony Konig from Antony Konig Landscapes
suggests you deter your children from careers as
" ere are plenty of poisonous plants out there,"
he says. " e sap from frangipani is harmful and
even the humble agapanthus can do your children
a nasty if they suck on the leaves and flowers.
Treat all your garden chemicals as off limits and
never ever decant them into a drinks container as
children may think it's just another drink."
If your child ingests any part of the poison,
or you suspect they have, call the poisons
information centre on 13 11 26.
"Many plants have poisonous or toxic elements, and as toddlers don't have fully
developed immune systems, they're naturally weaker and more susceptible to the shiny,
pretty, red berries -- or to the dainty pretty flowers, or the lush, green leaves."
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