Asthma Friendly Gardens
by Thomas Leo Ogren
When you have asthma the typical garden is not a very friendly place at all. There are mold spores to contend with and worst of all is all that pollen. Typical gardens have pollen producing male trees and male shrubs. Almost anyone with asthma will tell you that their asthma can be triggered by a good number of things, but pollen is often number one for causing an attack. Garden allergies are common, but they need not be. Allergies from gardening could be largely a thing of the past if were willing to make some simple changes.
In 1999 in Richmond, Virginia the American Lung Association (ALAV) built a new Breathe Easy office and headquarters. They had this entire large building constructed with the latest innovations in green construction. No materials were used that would off gas any harmful or toxic chemicals, no materials were used that would trigger asthma or allergies.
The ALA decided it would make perfect sense to landscape their new healthy building (in some states these are now called Health Houses) with an allergy free landscape.OPALS (the plant/allergy 1-10 numerical ranking system) was used to select only those plant materials that were either very low pollen, low allergy, or that were totally pollen free, allergy free. In effect they created the first true asthma friendly garden in the US.
Health Houses in other states are now also adding pollen free landscapes to their green construction, green buildings. Schools too are getting into the clean air act, and in the city of Visalia, California, the Tulare County Asthma Coalition recently directed the asthma friendly landscaping of a newly built elementary school.
Twelve keys to building your own asthma friendly garden
Friendly Gardens is a copyrighted article by the author, Thomas Leo Ogren,
who has kindly given Garden Forever permission to publish it on our
website. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the
prior written consent of Thomas Leo Ogren is strictly forbidden.