Worst place you've ever gotten a rose thorn?

nippstress - zone 5 NebraskaMarch 11, 2014

Hi folks

As I was out doing my pre-pruning check in our first truly warm day of the year this weekend, I of course picked up some rose thorns in the process, even through gloves. As I was absent-mindedly chewing the thorn out of my finger it occurred to me what an awful pain it would be to get a rose thorn in my tongue in the process. Yes, it might heal quickly, as mouth injuries do, but the thought of swelling and constant irritation and interference with talking (not to mention eating) was rather daunting.

So what do you think - where's the worst place you've gotten a rose thorn (keep it clean, folks). And I DON'T mean answers like "Nebraska". Nebraska is actually quite a lovely place for rose thorns, and you're all invited to come see for yourselves any time. In my case, I'd have to say the soles of both feet, under the balls of the feet. See, I'd been pruning lots of canes that were scattered all around me, and my garden clogs were getting wet and gunky so I slipped them off ... yep, then I stepped back behind me to pick up the loppers and stepped on those canes with one foot. Of course, that made me hop like mad on the other foot without looking, right into the rest of the canes. I got most of the thorns out with a lot of language I hope my kids didn't hear, but there were some deep ones right inside my instep that took a good week to work all the way out.

What's your rose thorn horror location? I know Patrick has the worst rose thorn horror story I've ever heard, including serious hospitalization, but fortunately he recovered. As I recall it started out in the most obvious of thorn locations - the hands.

As a side question, does getting a few thorns remind you to put on your gloves, or do you figure you're a lost cause anyway so why bother? For me, if I've been whipping off my gloves for some reason (like to adjust rose ties) then I know I'm going to keep doing it, so I'm in the "lost cause" camp.


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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

My mom got a good one a couple of weeks ago. Being 90 her veins are close to the surface, she saw a weed in the planter and decided to go pull it (one would think she would have learned not to go in the beds after her bad fall...but no)

Bishops Castle got her right where 2 veins branched on her lower leg. Blood everywhere.

She did not mention it to me for several days and it is finally healing up.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Under a finger nail. Ouch!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:00PM
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jasminerose4u, California(9b)

Aw Kippy. Sorry about your mom. I bet her love of gardening is what is helping her to live a good long life though. I hope she will be completely healed soon.

I went shopping for eye protection and gloves after a close call with rose bush. I was concentrating so hard on that outside bud that I didn't see the other branch coming. I didn't think how pruning roses could be dangerous. After reading your story, Niptress, I will wear protective shoes as well. Ouch!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 11:18PM
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bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Several years ago I was cutting down a rambler that I intended to sp. Something flew into my eye; I tried to get it out ,but it ended up just rolling back into my head on the eyeball's surface. It was a terrible irritation all day, and at the end of my day's work, I went by the health clinic; luckily the eye doctor was there. He removed this large clump of organic stuff from the surface of my eye-ball-an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, believe me-and it turned out to be a rose thorn,lying flat on the surface of my eyeball...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 4:02AM
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Campanula UK Z8

up my nose - horrendously, I was tugging at a long cane which catapulted right back at me, flailing across my cheek and latching onto the tender inside surface of my nostril. The thorn came off the cane. embedding itself where I couldn't reach with tweezers. I ignored it as best I could until my nose started to swell.....whereupon a trip to A&E and a shot of antibiotics sorted it out......although I looked unsightly for a week or 2.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Campanula UK Z8

reminds me - a similar thing happened a few years ago when fishing for pike. My line was caught in water lettuce so I pulled hard and the line and hook came back and embedded itself into the side of my nose. Horribly, the hook was barbed so I had to push it right through my nostril in order to nip the end off with some needle pliers - have never, ever fancied body piercing of any kind.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:37AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Ugh! Thankfully I don't have any horror stories like these! My worst is like Susan's, under the finger nails. I've stepped on a few too but I don't leave clippings on the ground myself. I work barefoot in the garden all the time so when I prune the clippings go right into a bucket that I carry with me everywhere. Unfortunately the rabbits aren't so careful!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:30PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

Bottom of my foot (why I no longer garden barefoot....) I thought I got it out, but the tip was still in and I had to have my husband dig it out.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:34PM
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Campanula UK Z8

garden barefoot!!! I have never even stepped in mine without full boot protection - even sandals would be considered a step too far. I don't wear shorts either (leather trousers) or garden without gloves......and I still manage to damage myself in numerous painful ways.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 7:41PM
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brittie(Houston 9a)

Backed right into Munstead Wood today, so... my hiney. And then I couldn't get it out by myself. I had to ask my elder daughter to help, and she, horrified, refused. I had to wait until my husband came home, and the ass (heh) wouldn't stop laughing, which made me laugh, and that didn't help matters any. Arg. I'm currently thornless, but irritated and about to eat ice cream to soothe my pride. Or eat my feelings. Whatever.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:05PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Guess I'm not the only one who considers gardening a contact sport! The scary one was a dart to the outside corner of my eye. That & dirt ricochet from pulling weeds or those seeds that fling themselves convinced me eye protection is essential, so glasses under the brim of a baseball cap. Trying to untangle a long braid from multiple rose stems proved comically difficult. Now it's tucked down the neck of a long sleeve denim overshirt. Those stretchy gloves with the nitrile palms & fingers that go in the wash deflect most thorns for routine stuff. Sometimes buckle on hinged knee pads, always long pants tucked into garden boots - I'm ready to rock & roll. One of these days I'll finally spring for the snake-proof boots for the woods, spring & stream. They ought to be thorn-proof as well! It's the wilderness out past the porch, and I love it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 11:47PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I've tried using gloves, but doing so feels so awkward that I don't bother. I find that I grasp canes with two fingers, one at a time, and placing fingers between thorns, or in such a way as to "go with the grain". I am overly meticulous when I'm doing things in general, and that also applies to pruning (I'd never be an "efficient landscaper"). Sometimes I get poked, and once in a great while, a thorn will remain stuck in a finger as I pull away -- but I have yet had to resort to tweezers to pull them out. Then again, my time "handling" roses is far shorter than most who post here, so perhaps it's just a matter of time before I start cursing my bare-handed approach.



    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:19AM
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It would have to be right in the back of the head on the crown. I was out pruning this spring, and a gust of wind whipped up real quick. The tall lanky rose behind me bent right over and inserted itself in the back of my head! I had to reach up and pull the cane out of my head cause the thorn didn't break off.

I figured the rose behind me was just trying to get a better view of what I was doing, but man it hurt!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 12:29AM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)

Camps, full boots and leather trousers... Try gardening in a properly warm climate in the summer in these.
Personally I've had my share of rose thorns all over my hands and arms but thankfully not in worse places. I'll tell you what's worse than getting rose thorns in the soles of your feet. Stepping on a sea urchin while going in for a swim.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:05AM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)

Sorry double posting (for some obscure reason)..

This post was edited by nikthegreek on Thu, Mar 13, 14 at 14:38

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:08AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I never actually gardened barefoot. I would be outside, just relaxing, and then something would catch my eye, and then I'd be in the rose bed, finger pruning.......

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:47AM
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seil zone 6b MI

It's always so humid here that even in the early spring it gets hot and sticky quick out there in the sun. Shorts, T shirts or tanks, no shoes, no gloves or I'm swimming in sweat in no time. I have tiered beds and I have to be able to scramble up and down them to work on the roses. I've found I have much better sense of balance barefoot than in any kind of shoes. I've tried all kinds from flip flops to garden clogs to sneakers to boots and am never as stable on my feet as I am barefoot. I have limited sense of touch in my fingers and wearing garden gloves is like wearing boxing gloves or a baseball mitt for me. I'm terrified that I'll prune off a finger and not realize it, lol! I am always VERY careful out there though because I know that what I'm doing is dangerous and risky. Even still I do get injuries occasionally. I don't care how careful you are accidents happen to us all. And roses are sneaky, resentful and vengeful sometimes, lol!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:57AM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

Eeew - thorns in the nose! Eew, eew - bleeding and getting thwacked. EEW, EEW - eyes! I hadn't even considered that one but it's entirely plausible that we'd get a thorn straight in, given the speed with which those canes can whack back at you without warning. And people think rose gardening is this genteel safe tidy hobby (chortle) - we may need eye protectors more than mechanics at this rate.

I realized on reading these that I have had to dig the occasional rose thorn out of my scalp too, thankfully not in the back of the head yet as Josh mentioned, but from canes that get trapped in the hair on top of my head or in my ponytail. Nothing like pulling out a hank of hair AND getting a thorn in your head as you try to extricate yourself from a tough pruning job. I have to shampoo pretty gingerly in my post-pruning shower, since there are always bits of canes and other debris ground in after a long day.

And like many of us, I don't actually intend to garden barefoot any more than I intend to garden without gloves, or to lose my pruners every time I switch from pruning to deadheading. It just mysteriously seems to happen...

I hesitate to see what else may be on the horizon. We live dangerously


    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:06PM
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nikthegreek(9b/10a E of Athens)

I've almost pruned a finger off once while pruning gloveless. Still have the mark to prove it. I knew I had oversharpened those Felco's... Going barefoot in the garden I would not even contemplate. Too many animate and inanimate dangers are lurking. Even sockless or in shorts is a very itchy proposition what with all the mosquitoes and the midgets. I usually wear garden clogs and long socks and wide pants.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Campanula UK Z8

True, leather trousers might be a bit hot and sweaty.....but in summer, I wear canvas pants. I don't care if I was gardening in Hades, I ALWAYS wear boots, summer, winter whatever - it would be madness not to, in my work as a landscaper.....although I don't wear steelies but stout Meindl boots. I do tend to injure myself, usually doing stuff 57 year old women should probably leave to their children (climbing in trees).

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:06PM
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seil zone 6b MI

Lol, Camp, I do those things we more mature ladies shouldn't do too!

You all have to realize that I have a very old, well groomed and tame suburban lot. Not a farmstead or back woods lot. What isn't an edged bed is grass, pavers or concrete. Most of the hazards are my own doing, lol!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:17PM
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jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Under my big toenail! ouchhhhhhh!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:43PM
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No actual rose thorn left IN my skin, but I was attacking an 8ft 40 year old rose that I inherited at my new house, and that sucker sliced me across the tenderest part of my wrist. Still have a little scar. Looks like I tried to off myself and chickened out after one wrist...

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 6:59PM
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Wow you guys, nasty, thorny tales!

My worst spot getting a thorn was in my head like Josh, altho not in the back. I was bent over weeding and stood up under a big branch on one of the hts (can't remember which one... but it was monstrously thorny). A gigantic thorn felt like it embedded deep in my head an inch or so into the hairline. I guess I must've gotten it out because I never did find it. However, it made me bleed like a stuck pig. My hair got all wet and blood ran down the side of my face. It was creepy. If anyone had seen me, they'd've thought I'd been whacked on the head with a hatchet or something. It healed up by morning and didn't bother me at all once it quit bleeding. Just was really weird.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:28PM
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Fortunately I don't have to choose between being lacerated by roses or dying of heat stroke, as our heat is dry and at night it cools down . I always wear sturdy shoes. Long pants, heavy, long-sleeved linen shirt in hot weather, whatever I have in the way of beat up garments in cold; gloves, which I slip on and off if I have to tie canes or do other fiddling tasks. Even if there weren't all the thorns, there are bugs and sun. My braided, pinned-up hair catches in thorns, too, and this summer when I go back to the U.S. on a visit I may look for the kind of hippy bandana I wore when I was eighteen. I wear glasses, too, so even my face has some protection, though not enough. I think my being a slow, inefficient, piddling (cautious) kind of gardener has perhaps kept me from the kinds of injuries reported here; maybe there's a kind of built-in protection in this way of working that banzai gardeners don't enjoy. Of course I could still fall out of a tree or off a ladder or terraced bed or from a rock.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 3:10AM
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Under my finger nail and in the heel of my foot (deep). Being from Fl., I garden in shorts and barefoot. Still do it up here. I try to keep the garden clean so I usually don't step on anything that will cause me pain.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:57AM
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