I grew up having an allergic reaction to cats. I would not only start sneezing, but I would actually get sick. That reaction has not changed much, and as cute as little kittens are, deep in my muscle memory is the allergic reaction I would face after holding those cute balls of fur in my lap. Another culprit, causing an allergic reaction, is pollen. Some of you may remember the fun it was to roll sideways down a grassy hill, trying to beat your friends to the bottom. If one of my sisters did that, she would break out in hives all over her body from an allergic reaction to grass. It was not a pretty sight and between the oatmeal baths and bottle of calamine lotion she had to apply, she quickly learned her lesson to run down the hill instead of roll.
Recently, horticulturalists have found that a large proportion of landscape trees, shrubs and other plants cultivated and sold in nurseries are exclusively male. They fill home gardens and public parks, releasing loads of pollen into the air and wreaking havoc on people with allergies or asthma. I quickly related this to having four men in my home (three sons and a husband) making a mess of everything; although I know we women can also do our part! However, it has contributed to the increased problem with allergies many are facing today. I wondered how you distinguish a male from a female tree, so I did a quick search to find that female flowers contain ovaries that develop into fruit while male flowers bear pollen that fertilizes the female flowers. Many trees, however bear flowers of both sexes and some change sex from season to season. I would have never guessed a horticulturalist would need to determine the changing sex of a tree!
Having an allergic reaction can influence our work and lives. Torrance, California-based allergist Allan D. Singer says, “It’s really very difficult to remove pollen from your environment.” He has been treating allergies and asthma in both children and adults for more than 40 years. When the winds come, it’s even worse and you can’t really avoid the pollen. But horticulturist Thomas Leo Ogren argues there is a solution in his latest book,The Allergy-Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping, his third on the subject since Allergy-Free Gardening: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Landscaping in 2000 and the 2004 Safe Sex in the Garden and Other Propositions for an Allergy-Free World.
If you struggle with allergies, it may be worth checking out this concept. Ogren’s work has led to the creation of the nonprofit organization SAFE (Society for Allergy Friendly Environmental) Gardening, whose goal is to raise awareness about allergy-friendly gardening and its role. I don’t know about you, but when I face an allergic reaction or allergy attack, it hinders my work and energy level and is a huge hinderance in me finishing projects. (more on goal setting here) In fact, a bad allergy attack can easily go into a cold or sinus infection (I’ve had both happen!) so it’s worth either keeping enough natural remedies on hand that are a quick remedy, as allergy medication, or creating a change in your work environment. I have never used an air purifier, but I know that is a solution that works for some. And who knows, Ogren’s research and theory may really hold some value for you. Next time you go to purchase a plant, it may be worth asking your plant specialist about male and female pollen-producing plants. He/she will either think you’re an expert, or crazy. Let me know!
Subscribe to Facebook Musician Page & Monthly Newsletter! ©Deborah Johnson • Twitter: @DJWorksMusic • www.DJWorksMusic.com Check out FREE Download of 70 page Study Guide: 40 Days to Getting Un-Stuck. “The Allergy-free Garden,” by Sandra Barrera, Daily Bulletin (March 7-8, 2015) C-1
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