Hay fever…the ugly side of beautiful weather. While not all people suffer from seasonal allergies, others are plagued and just devastated by it on a seasonal basis. Allergies caused by pollen and outdoor dander are hard to get away from and leave those affected hoarding tissues and reaching for their glasses over their eye contacts. Instead of being a prisoner in your own home while those who are not affected by pollen get to have all the fun outside, perhaps rethinking your landscaping plan may help alleviate the situation!
It is true, a majority of flowers capitalize on and pollinate by wind, causing an onslaught of allergic symptoms, however, there are still many flowers that do not press the sneeze button as readily as the others. Everyone’s allergies are different in triggers and severity, but there are some landscaping beauties which are believed to be hay fever triggers, that are not allergens at all! Referring to the OPALS scale, which stands for Ogren Pollen Allergy Scale, a rank of 1 equals allergy free and 10 is the most troublesome…let’s take a look at a few careful selections to get your senses at ease.
This African native has an OPALS rank of 1 and is a true annual landscape champion! The pollen grain in each impatiens flower is large, sticky and not susceptible to flight, making it an amazing pop of color for nearby gathering areas. This loveable flower comes in many colors and sizes and thrives in partial shade. Pair dappled shade with soil that retains good moisture, and you will have a floriferous and low maintenance show stopper on your hands. While only becoming perennial in hardiness zone 8 (find your zone here), this flower does not disappoint in the summer months when planted as an annual.
Hostas, also a rank of 1, are a true workhorse in the garden. Homeowners love them because they are extremely low maintenance, reliable, hardy, attractive and self-spreading. Hostas are herbaceous perennials that grow in clumps of showy leaves and will multiply until you divide and relocate. While hostas do, indeed, produce lavender, blue or white flowers on tall stems, they are not known to be an irritant to those with allergies.
Just as impatiens, hydrangea’s pollen is a little too sticky to become airborne, keeping our senses in check. While some sensitive cases have been reported that oakleaf hydrangeas can cause some reactions, for the most part, this flower is a favorite within the landscape. Simple, gentle, color-changing, blooming then re-blooming, and hardy all with a classic beauty make this a staple to include in your garden. Hydrangeas even look gorgeous when they are dried. These preserved blooms are lovely touches to decorate your house and outdoor living spaces.
That’s right…roses made it on the short and safe list! Though roses obviously do carry pollen, the petals are dense and the particles are far too big to be taken away with the summer breeze. Safe for indoors and out, there is no excuse not to have these timeless and romantic blooms surrounding you and your living spaces 24/7!
Irises do not depend on the wind to carry their pollen around the garden, either. The sloping construction of the flower’s sepal is the perfect indoor to outdoor transition for bumblebees to travel at their own leisure. This open concept attracts pollinators to feast on the nectar and rub all around inside and move on to the next flower. Nature truly is amazing!
A few other anti-allergy, warm weather winners worth mentioning include: azalea, begonia, clematis, geranium, orchid, petunia, snapdragon, tulips, daffodils, viola and pansies! Quite a nice mix for indoors and out!
I suppose it is only fair to name a few hay fever culprits to avoid in the garden as well. For those with crazy allergies or super-sensitive noses, try to avoid incorporating the following: aster, dahlia, daisy, and sunflowers. Rule of thumb, the larger the center button of the flower, the more sniffling and watery eyes to experience!
As mentioned before, everyone is different and have their own allergic triggers and sensitivities, but a little precaution and planning may help ease the pain of our summer sinuses! At this point in the season, the allergy sufferers we know are just about ready to try anything, so hopefully this blog provides even the slightest hint of relief!
For those who live in the Poconos, Lehigh Valley through the Main Line of Philadelphia and western New Jersey who would like to experience all of what their own backyards have to offer, reach out to MasterPLAN Outdoor Living! We specialize in creating unique and custom backyard transformations for our clients that perfectly fit their home, property, family and lifestyle! From installation of custom structure and landscape, a comprehensive and timeless outdoor living plan is all it takes to live your best life outdoors. When you are ready, let’s explore the options for your very own master plan!
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