Brooke Chaplan is my guest today speaking with you about how to cope with pollen allergies and still enjoy your garden.
Five tips to survive pollen allergies and still enjoy your garden
Spending time in the garden can be a rewarding, fun, and productive pastime. It can also sometimes be a real hassle when you suffer from pollen allergies. If your time in the dirt seems to get spoiled by sneezing, watery eyes, and stuffy sinuses, here are five tips the pollen-sensitive gardener can use to fight back.
Pick the right plants
Start by filling your garden with the right plants. You want flowers that are bright with a strong fragrance since they are bee pollinated, and not usually pollinated on the wind. Opt for colorful selections of native plants, since you might already be acclimatized to the pollen in them.
Yarrow, hollyhock, rose, goldenrod, and coneflower are good plants to begin your search. These have both wild and chosen cultivars to brighten your flowerbeds and to feed the bees. All are also medicinal herbs. In fact, yarrow, hollyhock, and goldenrod are herbs that can help you with your seasonal allergies, too.
When you plant trees, ask for female trees, rather than clonal male trees, since female trees produce far less pollen than male trees. Many ornamental trees are clonal male trees. Allergy sufferers should avoid planting ornamental male trees to limit pollen exposure.
Since the majority of pollen falls within 30 feet of the drip line of a tree, avoid male trees within 40 feet of your garden, if possible.
Know the Pollen Forecasts
Take a moment to watch your local news or check online sites to get the pollen or allergy forecast for the day in your area. If pollen counts are going to be high, then put off your gardening chores for a few days. This is important because high allergen counts in the air can affect you while gardening and long after you go back inside the house as well.
Prevent Allergies before Gardening
Use local honey in your diet as a way to acclimate to pollens you will be exposed to. Preventative measures like these are your best defense when you need to do a large amount of work outside. Further, herbs that are astringent, demulcent, antimicrobial, and anti-catarrhal can help with symptoms and support your body’s natural defenses. You may already be growing some of them in your garden now.
If these tips don’t work for you, you can take allergy medication before gardening to preemptively strike against your symptoms. This way you won’t have to deal with symptoms like watery eyes, runny nose, and irritation.
Cover Up When Outside
You’ll want to dress in long-sleeved clothing and long pants when you go out into the garden. Wear a hat to protect your hair from collecting pollen and consider wearing a simple mask so you are filtering out pollen from reaching your mouth, nose, and lungs. This simple added protection can make all the difference.
Avoid Touching Your Face or Eyes
A final tip is to avoid touching your face or eyes while gardening. This can transfer allergens or pollen to vulnerable areas on your body. The contact could lead to a serve allergy attack or exacerbated symptoms. Keep your hands far away from your face and try to wear gloves whenever possible.
Having pollen allergies doesn’t mean you have to stop gardening. Many people have found ways to overcome pollen allergies so spending time in the garden is fun and relaxing again.
All photographs copyright Joybilee Farm.
Other home remedies for seasonal allergies from Common Sense Homesteading.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Brooke uses (#ad) Dymista allergy medicine to help with her gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.