Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden

Avoid Allergy Triggers In Your Garden:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSpring and Summer are wonderful times to get out into the garden and enjoy getting close to nature – unless, of course, you have allergies.

If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from allergies triggered by pollen and plants, then you’ll want to eradicate the culprits and replace them with plants that will allow you to enjoy your garden without the runny nose, streaming eyes and itchy throat.

First we’ll tell you about some of the common allergy triggers and then we’ll give you a list of plants that will be easier to live with.  It might mean you have to dig up some of your favourites, but, you’ll find that there are equally beautiful alternatives that will allow you to enjoy the outdoors without those nasty side effects.

Common allergy triggers:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSunflower: who doesn’t love these giant, sunny blooms? Unfortunately they’re also prone to setting off nasty allergic reactions.

Chamomile: yes, this calming herb is a hay fever trigger.  If you’re especially sensitive, it can also react with your skin and you’ll find drinking Chamomile anything but calming.

Daisies: many of us love those cheerful, down-to-earth blooms, but the pollen, the leaves and even the flowers are often very effective allergy triggers.

Jasmine: this beautifully perfumed vine is also a big allergy trigger – and as we often have this plant indoors or in containers near the house, it’s probably best to avoid it.

Juniper:  one of our B.C. landscape staples, Juniper can cause hay fever and skin rashes.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWisteria: it’s such a pity that this showy vine is a quick way to suffer a severe bout of hay fever and even skin rashes.

If you’re feeling a bit disheartened because we’ve pinpointed one or more of your favourite plants, we have good news.  There are alternatives that are just as pretty and rewarding to grow.

Here are some of the easiest alternatives to grow in our climate:

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenEnglish lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). There are any number of lavenders, and you no doubt know, these plants are the ultimate multi-taskers.  The gorgeous purple flowers in Summer can be used for tea, soap, baking, cooking and many other uses.  Lavender is a compact shrub with silvery green leaves – indicating that it’s also a great addition to the xeriscape garden.  It’s not just humans that love lavender, so do pollinators!  It’s hardy, loves everything from full sun to part shade and doesn’t need much water. Simply trim back when flowering is over.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary shares many characteristics with Lavender, but has a few more variations including upright, bushy, weeping or creeping varieties. It grows between 1 and 8’ high but will spread as far as allowed. It also attracts your favourite pollinators and is a wonderful addition to your culinary efforts.

Rosemary doesn’t require much maintenance. It doesn’t like too much water and will grow in relatively poor soil. Cut back tips to shape it. Hardiness depends on the specific variety so check with your garden center as to which variety is best for your location.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenMint (Mentha spp.). If you’re looking for a plant to fill up bare spaces, then mint is it!  It spreads aggressively.  And that’s fine because you can use mint in cooking, baking and in teas!  It’s hardy, easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance at all.  Mint grows to about 2’ tall but will spread as far as you allow it to. It likes everything from full sun to part shade.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenWoolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus) is an excellent ground cover that grows quickly and in almost any kind of environment. It has small leafed green foliage and small pink flowers throughout summer and grows about 2 – 3” high and about 3’ wide. Woolly thyme likes full sun and requires very little water once established so it’s perfect for xeriscaping. Can be used as a lawn replacement, a wall adornment or anywhere you need some low maintenance cover. All that’s necessary is to trim it back periodically. It attracts butterflies, bees and other pollinators.  It’s hardy to -28.9 C, so it can survive even a cold winter like our last one.

Allergy Triggers In Your Garden hummingbirdsFall phlox (Phlox paniculata) produces fragrant white, pink, rose, red or lavender coloured flowers the whole summer. It’s perennial and very hardy, requiring very little maintenance.  All that’s necessary is to dead head and pinch back tips to encourage the plants to become more bushy instead of lanky.

 

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenClematis: a hardy, long flowering vine that rivals Wisteria for showiness. They like full sun to part shade – keep the roots shady and the rest of the plant in sun for best results.  They like well drained soil but do need regular watering and fertilizing.  They’ll also need some support to climb on. Depending on the variety, these vines can grow quite large – from 10’ to 20’.  Clematis offer a variety of flower colours including white, pink, purple and blue.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenSweetpeas (Lathyrus spp.) come in varieties including annual and perennial, vines, bushes, and varieties that flower at different times.  They might not be quite as showy as Wisteria, but still offer lots of pretty flowers and fragrance to the garden without the allergy triggers.  They can be a little more picky about their environment, so before planting, check with your local garden center to ensure that your choice of location will yield good results. They require a little maintenance needing regular watering and dead heading.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenGoldenrod (Solidago spp.) keeps the colour going with swathes of yellow flowers from late summer through the fall. Depending on the variety, they can grow as high as 8’ and will spread by seed.  If you don’t want them to spread, dead head before the seeds appear. If they do spread or become too dense, they can be divided in the Spring. Like many of the plants we’ve mentioned, these happy flowers are almost maintenance free and are especially attractive to pollinators.  They like anything from full sun to part shade and can do well in less than ideal soil conditions.

Allergy Triggers In Your GardenDaylilies (Hemerocallis hybrids)? are easy to grow, low maintenance, hardy perennials that love full sun. They do need regular water as soon as the temperatures warm in spring and right through to the beginning of winter. Daylilies grow 2.5 – 4’ tall and spread 2 to 3’. There are several varieties with different blooming times, and some even re-bloom.  You can choose evergreen, semievergreen and deciduous and can be divided if they become too dense.

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Other Pollinators Into Your Garden

attract hummingbirds

Not only is it good for agriculture to encourage and support pollinators, it’s also a lot of fun watching as they flutter and dart from flower to flower.

 

Here’s a quick video that gives you an overview of how you can attract these little critters into your garden:

 

Here are 5 old fashioned favourites that Hummingbirds love. 

These are all suitable for Zone 8 and provide you with lots of colour.  Many are also perennials so you won’t have to replant them every year.  Less work and more fun!

Get inspired then come in and chat with our horticulturalist to see how to combine these with other plants to extend flowering displays and to continue attracting pollinators as long as possible.

Lupines:

attract hummingbirdsLupines are colourful and come in a variety of shades.  They grow to around 3′ tall and spread to about the same amount. They’re perfect for the backs of borders or as a backdrop in a flowerbed.  Even when the blooms are gone, their foliage is beautiful. They’re easy going and you can plant them in full sun or part shade, just make sure the soil is moist and well drained.

Phlox:

attract hummingbirdsIt’s the perfect summer flower bearing pink, white, lavender or red flowers throughout summer.  The sweet fragrance is a magnet for hummingbirds and other pollinators. They grow to about 4′ tall and spread out about 3′.

Bee Balm:

attract hummingbirdsThe name says it all!  Another easy going perennial that grows about 3′ tall and 2′ wide and acts as a pollinator magnet! Flowers can be red, white, pink or violet. Plant in full sun or part shade in well drained soil.

Hollyhocks:

attract hummingbirdsThese lovely perennials grow really huge!  They can get up to 8′ tall and 3′ wide.  Their blooms are gorgeous and can be single or double.  They come in a variety of colours.  Because they can get quite lanky, it’s best to plant these behind other, shorter flowering plants. Plant in full sun in well drained soil.

Coral Bells Heuchera:

attract hummingbirdsWe love Heuchera.  They’re the perfect, neglect proof perennials.  They grow up to 3′ tall and 2′ wide and when they’re not flowering, they have lovely foliage. Plant them in part shade in well drained soil.

Recipe Alert: Brambles Spring Roll

brambles spring roll

Recipe Alert: Brambles “Spring” Roll

brambles spring rollbrambles spring rollbrambles spring roll

INGREDIENTS:

Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce

1 Cup     Soya Sauce
¼ Cup  White Granulated Sugar
1 tbsp.   Chili Flake
1 tbsp.   Sesame Oil
1/3 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp.   Minced Garlic
½ Cup  Packed Brown Sugar
.5 oz      Whole Ginger Peeled
.5 oz      Thinly Sliced Green Onion
2 tbsp.  Mirin
——————————————————–
4 0z Vermicelli rice noodles
1 Green Apple, sliced into matchsticks
1 Mango peeled and, sliced into thin strips
½ lime juice
1 avocado pitted and sliced
½ cup loosely packed basil
½ cup loosely packed mint
8 rice papers
Sea Salt
¼ cup Microgreens (optional )
½ cup Pickled Red Cabbage ( optional)
10 small colourful edible pansies

DIRECTIONS:
In a small bowl, mix together soya sauce, white sugar, chili flake, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, mirin and green onion until incorporated. Let sit in the fridge till ready to use!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare the vermicelli rice noodles according to the instructions
on the package. Drain and set aside

toss the Green apple with lime and pinch of salt. Have all filling ingredients prepped and in front of you before you start rolling- noodles, mango, green apple, basil, mint, microgreens, pickled cabbage, pansies

Assemble the spring rolls:Fill a shallow glass baking dish or pie plate with 1 inch 2.5 cm warm water.
Submerge one rice paper wrapper in warm water for 15 seconds and then lay the softened wrapper
on a clean kitchen towel.Place a portion of each filing ingredient on the rice paper. Fold the bottome of
the wrapper over the filling and gently tuck the filling under the wrapper. Fold the sides over the filling.
Continue rolling and tucking the rice paper to form the spring roll. Repeat with the remaining rice papers.

Serve with Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce.

 

 

How to attract butterflies to your garden:

attract butterflies gardening tips

Butterflies, like birds, are attracted to colourful plants that produce the food they eat at various stages of their lives.

attract butterfliesTo attract butterflies into your garden, you need to support these little critters at every stage of their life cycle. It’s a very worthy goal. Not only will you have the pleasure of watching them flutter around your garden, you’ll also be providing a valuable service. Creating a habitat for butterflies means encouraging some of the most effective pollinators.

At the recent 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show, the ‘Butterflies Live’ exhibition made guests aware that butterfly populations have decreased by 90% over the past few years. Because butterflies are important pollinators, like bees, this can seriously impact the production of fruit and vegetables.

What plants will attract butterflies?

The answer will vary depending on the stage of the butterfly lifecycle. As butterflies hatch from eggs, you will need plants on which the tiny caterpillars can feed. The trouble is that they have voracious appetites and can strip plants of their leaves!

During this stage, the caterpillar will undergo several skin moults. Eventually the final stage before becoming a butterfly is the chrysalis stage, when the caterpillar becomes a pupa hidden under the protective walls of an outer shell or chrysalis.

While hiding away, the caterpillar is undergoing a metamorphasis where they develop their wings and their body structure changes to the body of a butterfly. Once the butterfly is fully formed, it then breaks out of the chrysalis and the wings slowly unfurl and dry out until it is ready to take flight.

attract butterfliesOnce the butterfly begins to fly it goes in search of food. Only this time, it’s not leaves it needs. Butterflies feed on nectar of flowers, which is how they pick up the pollen and transport it to other plants which become pollinated.

The best way to attract butterflies is to use a combination of colour and nectar producing plants. As flowers produce nectar and flowers are usually colorful, this means planting lots of flowering plants.

Here’s a list of some of the plants which attract butterflies like magnets:

– asters
– sedum
– black eyed Susans
– azaleas
– butterfly bush
– bee balm
– impatiens
– marigolds
– verbena
– most fruit bearing flowers
– golden rod
– roses
– cone flower
– phlox
– viburnum

plus many more. Come in and chat with our horticulturalists who can advise you as to what will work best in your garden.

fall color mumsLike many little creatures, butterflies prefer warm, but not too hot, weather. They don’t like being rained on and need to take shelter to avoid their wings becoming waterlogged.

In your garden, create spaces by grouping plants, including shrubs, so that there is shelter when it rains or gets too hot and there is a place for the butterflies to rest overnight under leaves. Provide a nice flat rock that can warm up in the sun, allowing butterflies to sit resting with wings outstretched when the sun shines in early spring.

You can even create a pretty butterfly house in your garden where they can spend the winter in hibernation. Yes, butterflies hibernate! They do so at all stages of the life cycle, although they will more than likely choose a hibernation spot somewhere amongst the shrubs, in a log pile, or in any number of sheltered spots in your garden. Still, the butterfly house is a nice accessory in the landscape and if it is surrounded and sheltered by the plants they love, they may surprise you by adopting it!