I’ve never been much of a fan of LinkedIn. I’m particularly prejudiced against it because they insist that you use a photo of yourself rather than something else. And in ham-handedly enforcing this policy, they deleted my “avatar” at the time, which was my sweet beloved late schnauzer, Buffi. I deleted my profile as well for a time in protest. A simple “Hey, we don’t allow this anymore; you need to change your photo” would have sufficed.
But recently someone wanted to connect and because I thought his research sounded interested, I did connect. As a result, he very kindly sent me a review copy of his book, The Allergy Fighting Garden: Stop Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping. The book is written by Thomas Leo Ogren and published by Ten Speed Press.
Honestly I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading but I was blown away by the research and science Tom put into the book. In his introduction, he says that he began the project because his wife has asthma and allergies so he tried to find books on landscaping his yard to help her and he couldn’t. He had to write his own.
And despite the science–sometimes a dreaded word to us gardeners!–the book is quite accessible! Yes, there are technical terms and quite a bit about plant sex (which sounds way more interesting than it actually is but Tom makes it as interesting as it can be!). If science really upsets you, you can gloss over this.
One of the most valuable parts of the book (other than the tricks on how to landscape the yard to help reduce the allergens–and there are some great tricks here, even if you don’t want to plant another plant or dig another hole. They include simple things like keeping ferns out of hanging baskets because the spores can be allergens and can, from their position in those baskets, cover things that people will come into contact with. Ferns in the ground are rarely a problem) is Part Two which contains a rating of literally hundreds, if not thousands of plants on a scale that Ogren himself devised.
The scale is based upon numerous factors about the pollen, the amount of time the plant is in bloom, whether the plant has a fragrance and whether there is sap that causes a rash. The scale goes from 1-10 and is called OPALS. It covers all types of plants from trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, house plants, vegetables and fruits. This is an amazing body of work!
Best of all–as Tom says in his introduction, in re-landscaping his yard in armed with this knowledge, his wife does indeed feel better!