I don’t look great in hats, but I almost always wear a garden hat when I am outside. Why? If you are outside a lot, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun, and that includes your face and the top of your noggin. (Yes, you can get skin cancer on the top of your head!) Even the Center for Disease Control recommends wide-brimmed hats for gardeners, as well as long sleeves and sunscreen for skin protection.
While the best kind of hat is the one you will wear, hats with wide brims all the way around protect both your face and your neck from the sun. Many outdoor-types like those with a veil-effect on the back that gives lots of neck protection. I’ve been on a few garden tours recently and have noticed a variety of functional and ornamental garden hats, from broad-rimmed floppy hats to your basic baseball hat.
The best garden hats are those made of materials that are engineered for sun protection. I’ve been fortunate the past couple of years to be affiliated with the Garden Bloggers Fling, and have snagged hats at both events. Below is a photo of a hat I purchased from Lee Valley Tools after the Toronto fling in 2015 and at right is a shot of my daughter sporting a Tula hat from the Minneapolis Fling in July. Both hats are rated UPF +50, meaning they block the sun like crazy. The cloth Lee Valley hat is very light-weight and hangs on even in the wind, but I like the styling of the Tula hat.
What’s your favorite garden hat?
—Mary Lahr Schier