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Home » Gardening

How to Create a Low Allergen Oasis

Submitted by on October 11, 2010 – 6:23 pm

By Suzi Franks

I am blessed, because I can enjoy the scent of a bloom, nestling my nose deep inside the delicate petals and inhaling its unique fragrance. This simple act feeds my very soul, makes Mother Nature infuse my being – however, for some this simple act could find them in the emergency department fighting for breath.

It’s always been an inconceivable scenario for me to even try an imagine not being able to enjoy the spring and summer months with their abundance of flowers, but, I know thousands of people dread this time of year. This is allergy season, which is at its peak from October until February and spells misery for those who suffer with allergy related illnesses, because suffer they do.

Respiratory illnesses, especially Asthma and Hay-Fever, have reached endemic proportions in New Zealand. With over 800,000 people diagnosed with some form of respiratory illness and, 1 in 4 children are estimated to have asthma. (Asthma Foundation 2010)

Allergy Triggers

Allergies are hypersensitive reactions created by our immune system to ‘invaders’ called allergens and flower pollen is a major cause of these reactions. And as all flowering plants produce pollen at some point in their life is unavoidable for allergy sufferers to avoid, however careful and diligent they may be.

Pollen can be transported in the wind making it easily inhaled, entering our lungs and triggering an allergic reaction and would you believe the most common flowering plant, which is present in all but a few gardens is one that causes the most damage? The culprit is grass!

How Can I Have a Garden if I Have a pollen Allergy?

There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you can specifically choose to surround yourself with ‘low allergen’ plants in your garden oasis. Some of the considerations are what NOT to plant and those plants you can. I have listed both for you information and I sincerely hope that you can begin to enjoy Mother Nature and feel the beauty she has in store for you.

Be Wary of High Allergen Plants

These include some of the highly fragrant varieties – Honeysuckle, carnations, lilies, sweet Williams, the Daisy family, Zinnia’s, marigolds, chrysanthemums. Avoidance of these varieties should be high on the priority list and ‘flowering’ grass can be replaced with non-flowering Buffalo or couch varieties.

Low Allergen Plant List

Annuals and Biennials include:

Snapdragons, begonias, impatiens, forget-me-nots, pansies, petunias, phlox, love in a mist and salvia’s.


Oyster plant, Japanese windflower, granny’s bonnet, daylily, penstemon, oriental poppy and Jacob’s ladder

Ground Covers:

Bugle flower, lady’s mantle, cranesbill hosta, catmint and periwinkle


Camellia, deutzia banksias, escallonia, hexes viburnums, hydrangea, flax, wriggle and photinia


Bottlebrush, Irish Strawberry tree, magnolias, crab apples, ornamental pear and tulip trees.

I am nearly out of space for this week. I do hope for those of you who are an allergy sufferer that this article has given you some hope of being able to consider enjoying Mother Nature in a safe environment.

About Suzi Franks
I live in beautiful New Zealand on a 2 acre piece of paradise. I have hand built my extensive Kitchen Garden using bamboo for the raised beds that have replaced one of the paddocks. We are nearly self sufficient in all our vegetable needs, growing every conceivable type of vegetable I can find. In fact, I think I am addicted to collecting heirloom seeds:)

I grow heirloom vegetables, heritage fruit and nut trees and rare native plants, and use organic principles with permaculture thrown in for good measure!! I have researched organic gardening for the last 4 years and searched high and low for my precious heirloom vegatable seeds and heritage trees.

I would like to share my knowledge and organic research findings with everyone, because I believe now is the time to get growing your own food and re-empower yourselves against the economic climate that we live in. I can guarantee that once you taste your own produce, hybrid or heirloom, you will wonder how ever we got to the tasteless offerings in the supermarket…

I have a dream: Our 2 acre piece of paradise will have an Earthship house, be self sufficient in terms of energy and food. We will use solar and wind power for energy and everything we aim to grow will either fed us or our growing number of animals:)

I also have a web site which is a cross between the tales of our experiences and a portal in which I can share my knowledge and experience of organic gardening and growing heirloom vegetables and heritage trees.

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