A Dozen Tips for Producing Low Allergy GardensWritten by Thomas Ogren
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6.Diversity is good. Donít plant too much of same thing in your landscapes. Use a wide selection of plants. Lack of diversity often causes over-exposure. Use lots of variety in your gardens. 7.Wild birds are a big plus because they eat so many insects. Plant fruiting trees and shrubs to encourage more birds. Suet also attracts many insect-eating birds. Insect dander causes allergies and birds consume an incredible amount of aphids, whiteflies, scale, and other invertebrate pests. 8.Use pollen-free selections whenever possible. There are many hybrids with highly doubled flowers and in many cases these flowers lack any male, pollen parts. Formal double chrysanthemums, for example, usually have no pollen. Another example would be almost all of erect tuberous begonias. These have complete female flowers, but their male flowers have nothing but petals, making them pollen-free. 9.If you simply must have some high-allergy potential plants in your yard, just because you love them, then watch where you plant them. Donít use any high-allergy plants near bedroom windows or next to patios, well-used walkways, or by front or back doors. Place highest allergy plants as far away from house as possible and downwind of house too. Remember: closer you are to high-allergy tree or shrub, greater is your exposure. 10.Know exact cultivar name of a tree or shrub before you buy it. Donít buy any that are not clearly tagged with correct cultivar (variety) name and Latin, scientific name. Compare exact name of plant with its OPALS/TM allergy ranking. With this scale, 1 is least allergenic, and 10 is most allergenic. Try to achieve a landscape that averages at OPALS #5, or below. 11.If you have a tree or hedge that has high allergy potential and donít want to remove it, consider keeping it heavily sheared so that it will flower less. Boxwood, for example, has allergenic flowers but if pruned hard each year, it will rarely bloom at all. 12.Get involved with your own cityís tree and parks departments, and encourage them to stop planting any more wind-pollinated trees. There are thousands of fine choices of street trees that do not cause any allergies and we should be using these instead. Working together we can make a healthy difference, and weíll all breathe better for our efforts.
*Note, with dioecious plants (separate-sexed) males cause pollen-allergy, and females because they are pollen free, do not. Examples of some of these dioecious plants are: red maple, silver maple, box elder, holly, willow, aspen, cottonwood, poplar, fringe tree, pepper tree, carob tree, Osage orange, mulberry, cedar, juniper, podocarpus, yews, ash, date palms, and even asparagus.
Thomas Ogren is the author of Allergy-Free Gardening, Ten Speed Press. Tom does consulting work on landscape plants and allergies for the USDA, county asthma coalitions, and the Canadian and American Lung Associations. He has appeared on HGTV and The Discovery Channel. His book, Safe Sex in the Garden, was published in 2003. In 2004 Time Warner Books published: What the Experts May NOT Tell You About: Growing the Perfect Lawn. His website: www.allergyfree-gardening.com
A house is not a Home without a GnomeWritten by Hugh Harris-Evans
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There are some who view cheerful little character sitting in your yard in a different light. FreeTheGnomes.com provides Garden Gnome Liberation information and calls to action. They proclaim that "Thousands of Gnomes are enslaved in Gardens across America. For too long we have let our neighbors usurp rights of these gentle woodland creatures. Join our boycott. Organize a picket demonstration. Write to Congress. Free a Gnome. We'll show you how."
Some groups have taken law into their own hands. In April 2000 in Paris dormant Garden Gnome Liberation Front sprang back to life, stealing about 20 gnomes during a nighttime raid on a Paris exhibition. "We demand ... that garden gnomes are no longer ridiculed and that they be released into their natural habitat," Front's Paris wing said in a statement following its weekend strike.
Disappearing gnomes have caused headaches for police forces worldwide. In May 2004 The Scotsman reported that a spate of bizarre thefts had left Lothians police with several unusual prisoners - 14 garden gnomes. An elderly woman complained to police that someone was stealing gnomes from her yard in Fairfax County, Washington D.C. Officers set up a spy-cam and caught their suspect in act four times. Police revealed that their bad guy was really a not-so-bad Labrador retriever named Magnum. The dog had been retrieving figurines and bringing them home. In Australia, garden gnomes started disappearing from one particular neighbourhood on a large scale. They were found in a clearing in bush months later, where they were all gathered around largest gnome, having a meeting.
If you have not yet succumbed to temptation to acquire one of these cheerful little creatures, let me leave you with one final thought. A study carried out in England in 2003 into matters to be considered when selling your home found that having a gnome in your front garden reduced value of your house by $840.
For gardening tips and resources visit my site: http://www.garden-supplies-advisor.com
Hugh Harris-Evans is a retired 62 year old who divides his time between building his gardening web site http://www.garden-supplies-advisor.com and getting his hands dirty in his real world garden.