HayMax advice: Gardening with allergies
Hay fever and other allergies shouldn't get in the way of having a blossoming garden at home.
Making a few changes to the way you garden and the flowers you choose can really help relieve some of those uncomfortable symptoms, allowing you to get up close and personal with some of your favourite plants.
We spoke with Max Wiseberg, creator of the HayMax organic allergen barrier balm, who shared some top tips for how to create an organic garden that's optimised for those with allergies:
1. Choose female plants
Female plants don’t produce pollen, and they might even mop up some of the pollen produced elsewhere in your garden.
How do you know which plants are female?
Very often the seedless or fruitless plants in your garden centre will be the males, so if you're looking for a female, fruity or seedy varieties are a good bet.
Planting fruiting shrubs and trees can also attract birds into your garden. Although they will often eat the fruit before you get to it, they will also eat insects. This helps because insect skin cells - or ‘dander’, can also trigger allergies.
2. Pick varieties with double flowers
Double flowering plants often have petals instead of pollen parts. Double headed chrysanthemums are good, and you can get lots of pollen-free varieties.
3. Find disease-resistant species
Diseases come with spores and allergens that can make your life a misery if you suffer with hay fever. Getting disease resistant varieties should reduce the amount of allergens.
Growing native plants and trees makes it easier to tell if they are somewhat diseased. As they are used to the climate, if they aren’t growing well, they may be diseased - producing mildews and moulds and attract insects.
More spores and insect dander means more hay fever. So, if a plant’s not looking healthy, it’s best to remove it.
4. Keep out pests and weeds organically
Invasive weeds will often turn into great pollen producers, so keeping on top of their management in your garden should help reduce sneezing, too.
However, there's no need to reach for the weedkiller. Take some time to research organic and nature-friendly alternatives for weed control. Not only are garden chemicals and pesticides claimed to have triggered allergic reactions in people who previously had no allergies, they also have a hugely detrimental impact on the health of wildlife and our soils.
5. Choose your timing and planting spots carefully
Pollen is out in force in the mornings and the evenings, so it’s best not to do your gardening at these times.
And, if you do choose to grow plants that produce lots of pollen, keep them away from the house, or at least away from windows, doorways, and ‘high traffic’ parts of your garden to reduce allergic reactions.
6. Choose HayMax
Finally, before you go out in the garden, put on some HayMax organic allergen barrier balm, to trap the pollen before it gets into your body. Less pollen, less sneezing.
Hopefully these tips will help you start your own low allergy organic garden - that you’ll be able to enjoy with fewer sneezes!
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Author: Max Wiseberg
Max Wiseberg is an expert in airborne allergens (including hay fever, dust, pet and mould allergies). Max is the creator of the HayMax organic allergen barrier balm and is a hay fever sufferer himself. He regularly writes in the press, and has appeared on BBC and local radio, as well as The Chrissy B Show, Fitness TV and the Holiday & Cruise channel.