July 24, 2017 | Horticulture Intern

Coming from the East Coast, sun protection isn’t unheard of. For my first day working at the Gardens, I slathered on a healthy layering of sunscreen. As 9 o’clock came around the corner, the Japanese Garden volunteers filtered in.

They greeted me: “Good morning!” and “How are you?”  However, these soon became a Twilight-zone-esque flood of inquiries relating to sun protection. “Where’s your hat?” and “Are you wearing sunscreen?” the volunteers asked.

Even Larry Jackel, the bonsai specialist at the Gardens, remarked, “Young lady, where is your hat? You need to keep your skin out of the sun, and that’s an order!” Colorado is a parallel universe where a well-meaning gardener asks you what SPF your sunscreen is the same way they ask what variety your newest garden addition of Penstemon is.

I went on for a few days without a hat until I got my first ever sunburn. Suddenly, the Colorado heat and UV was no joke.

Determined to fit in and follow the seemingly mandatory protocol for sun protection, this photo gallery outlines how I, as out-of-stater, prepare for the impending radiation exposure bound to happen in the Mile High City.

Author bio: Nurani Illahi is a rising junior at the University of Maryland. She is pursuing a degree in horticulture and enjoys educating the public on environmental issues and horticulture.

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