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The plants we grow in our gardens are not always beautiful and harmless. The months from August until March can mean sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose and extreme fatigue in people who are sensitive to pollen. Others may suffer seasonal asthma, or find that their asthma becomes worse during these months.

The most significant step you can take in planning a low-allergen garden is to choose bird- or insect pollinated plants rather than wind-pollinated ones. Plants pollinated by birds and insects produce only small amounts of pollen. Many native trees and shrubs are pollinated by birds and insects.

Lawns can also produce a lot of wind-borne pollen. Choose native species or low-pollinating introduced species such as Greenlees Park couch or buffalo. When mowing a lawn, protect your eyes, nose and mouth with a mask and goggles, or mow while the dew is still on the lawn.

 

What to avoid:

  • asteraceae family (daisies, chrysanthemums, calendulas, marigolds)
  • most introduced grasses
  • wattles
  • alder
  • ash
  • birch
  • she-oak
  • cypress
  • elm
  • liquidambar
  • maple
  • white cedar
  • oak
  • olive
  • poplar
  • privet
  • walnut
  • willow
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Choosing suitable plants

Low-allergy plants include those that are pollinated by insects or birds only, or that are propagated by cuttings or grafting. Some plants you might like to try are:

Grasses and ground covers: 

  • rice or weeping grass
  • kangaroo grass
  • buffalo
  • kidney weed (dichondra)
  • snow-in-summer
  • low-growing cotoneaster
  • native violet

Climbers: 

  • clematis
  • Chilean jasmine
  • passionfruit
  • banksia rose
  • star jasmine

Shrubs: 

  • azalea
  • rhododendron
  • camellia
  • gardenia
  • rosemary
  • heath banksia
  • bottlebrush
  • silky tea tree

Trees: 

  • magnolia
  • sweet bay
  • citrus
  • flowering almond, apricot and cherry
  • scribbly gum
  • silky oak
  • lillypilly
  • cabbage tree palm

Flowers: 

  • alyssum
  • aquilegia
  • foxglove
  • impatiens
  • lobelia
  • nasturtium
  • petunia
  • snapdragon

For a full list of suitable low-allergen plants, contact your local nursery or the website of the Asthma Foundation in your state.

This information is from the Yates Garden Guide: fully revised & updated 44th edition, HarperCollins, $39.99. You can have this information and so much more at your fingertips by purchasing the Yates Garden Guide, available at all leading bookstores and Bunnings stores.


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