Gardening has quickly become the UK’s favourite pastime thanks to the sunniest spring on record and our social plans being put on hold indefinitely.
But as pollen levels soar as summer begins, hay fever sufferers can find it difficult to carry on flexing their green fingers.
To help, the gardening experts at The Greenhouse People have given their top tips for low allergen gardening…
Wear the right clothing
As day temperatures rise, it can be tempting to wear less.
If you can, stick to lightweight, breathable and comfortable full-length tops and trousers. These can lower the body’s allergy response by stopping pollen coming into contact with your skin directly. You’ll also be more protected from the sun’s powerful UV rays.
Sports clothing with sweat-absorbing technology is even better to help keep you cool.
Create green borders
Green borders, created from tall hedges, trees or bamboo can provide a natural barrier between your garden and the outside world, helping to filter out and stop the spread of pollen.
Just be wary of the species of plant you use in your barrier or you could be creating a bigger problem then you were trying to solve. Avoid anything which flowers too much in Spring in favour of evergreen leaves.
Pick your timing
Be mindful of when you decide to work on your garden. Pollen levels vary from day to day, but generally speaking, the early morning is high time for pollen levels, as is dusk, when the temperature begins to cool.
Aim to carry out any gardening tasks in the middle of the day when pollen levels settle. But beware, this is when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest so cover up, protect your eyes with sunglasses and wear SPF.
Keep it short
It can be tiresome but staying on top of lawn mowing can really help with hay fever.
Grass pollen is the biggest cause of seasonal allergies, affecting approximately 90 percent of hay fever sufferers, so keeping your lawn short will reduce allergens significantly.
If you want or need to take it a notch further, reduce the amount of grass surface area in your garden. Decking or a patio give you a place to relax outdoors that will be low pollen in the summer months.
Choose low-allergen blooms
If you are really into your gardening and love bright bursts of colour all year round, there are certain plants that are low allergen and bloom in each month of the year. This way, you can enjoy a beautiful, flourishing garden without compromising.
If you’re really suffering and want to start low-allergen gardening now, the perfect flower for the month of June is a ‘snapdragon’ as it blooms without making you splutter and sneeze. Some other popular plants to consider are hydrangeas in August, or the aptly named ‘Christmas rose’ in December.
Excuse yourself from weeding
If you’re a hay fever-stricken gardener, you have an excuse not to weed your garden. Hooray!
Putting your mouth and nose so close to the ground can trigger an allergen attack. Instead, try weed-suppressing plants that cover the ground to avoid sprouting, such as mixed summer heather or Alchemilla.
Or if you have someone else living with you, let them do the weeding. You have good excuse after all…