Aeonium

Aeonium

There is no question that this time of year is so beautiful. Everything is blooming. There are very few reminders of the harsh winter behind us. As they say “spring hopes eternal.” Or does it? When it comes to environmental allergies, there are some of us that just want to hide under the covers until summer gets here. To me spring means, the birds are chirping, the squirrels are chasing each other and everything is budding. Here in North Carolina, we rank as one of the 7 worse states in the nation for pollen count. Every spring, I take it upon myself to do all the hocus pocus tricks, along with the medication to fight off the pollen. My eyes get itchy, my nose is running, my sinuses are killing me I can’t breath.

White azaleas in our backyard

White azaleas in our backyard

You can imagine my delight when author, Tom Ogren of The Allergy Fighting Garden, approached me about reviewing his book. So what’s the connection to environmental allergies? In a nutshell, Ogren’s theory claims that there are certain trees and flowers that produce more pollen while others produce less. Brilliant! I am hooked. Of course I wanted to learn more. Here is what I learned:

To begin with, I want you to think of GMOs…stay with me for a second. You know how GMOs have made fruits/meat prettier, bigger, and quicker to grow. Well the same philosophy has been applied to plants. Male plants as opposed to female plants are prettier and cheaper to grow. The problem is the female plants have less allergenic components whereas the male ones have more. What has this done? It has made the male plants widely available at a reduced price. The male plants are responsible for the increase in environmental allergies in our country in the last few years. The good news is that the female plants counter act these plants. The next challenge though is that it is not always easy to determine the sex of a plant. Fascinating right? Wait there’s more!

Ogren’s OPAL ranking system helps us determine if it is a highly pollinating plant or if it a low pollinating one. The lower the number the better it is for your allergies.

Iochroma Cyaneum

Iochroma Cyaneum

Did you also know that certain plants produce more allergens then others? This makes sense. Think about the certain flowers in your yard that are more aromatic than others. This scent can be pleasing to some but can be an allergic trigger to others. The color of the plant also plays a factor. So for instance, orange flowers are less allergenic than white flowers. Did you know that? I didn’t!

Aside from trees and flowers, Ogren also teaches us about bushes and shrubs. He goes into detail about their longevity and where to plant them. He speaks about their importance and how to avoid having them die an early death. When plants begin to die, they create molds and spores, which are known allergens to many.

There is so much to this book. Ogren wrote this book as a personal homage to his wife as she has severe environmental allergies. I am glad he did as I have learned so much. Now I want to tear my backyard apart and plant a safe haven for me!

Don’t fret! You do not need to remember everything. That’s what the experts are for! This book acts a great reference guide. The next time you got to the botanist make sure to have this book with you. Happy Gardening!

Find the book on here. Paperback is $17.69, Kindle version is $11.99.

Author: Tarah Jakubiak

After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 24 countries and 26 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.