House & Home

View from the Garden: Allergic to Spring? Never! Enjoy It!

I like to be on hand at all job sites with my employees, but one day this last week I had to leave them at one job alone.

I felt very bad…so tired…couldn’t think. I got a little worried that maybe I had Lyme disease again, but when I got home, my husband pointed out that the oak catkins were blooming. The hood of his newly washed truck was covered with green powder and the orioles have returned. They eat the catkins and make their nests at the tips of oak branches.
I had allergies when I was a kid and even took shots for many years for them but they cleared up as I got older and I rarely have a problem…but this year! With a little research I discovered that this is one of the worst years in a very long time. Oh boy! The very wet winter (remember all of that snow on the ground for so long) hydrated the soil and tree roots. Trees were so satisfied that they released an exceptionally abundant supply of pollen and because the winter was so cold for so long, the production was delayed and now tree pollen has been dispensed at the same time as grass pollen.

Also, Global Warming and the raised level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere trigger trees to produce 3 – 4 times more pollen. Because we don’t like the seeds and “mess” that female trees make, we plant mostly male trees, leaving no females to collect the pollen. We have had very little rain to clean the air and force the pollen to the ground. Dry windy days stir it up and it flies right into the nose so we who have allergies are in a “pollen tsunami.”

I have tried to tough it out but I think I will yield and get some antihistamine!

Meanwhile, in the garden, my prediction that plants would pop very quickly once warm weather finally happened has proven true, especially with regards to weeds. OMG! Properties that were weed-free one week ago now need intensive weeding. I think all of the spring weeds came out at once. Other plants also seem to be making up for lost time. The ornamental grasses in my garden seem to grow an inch every day. Beds that were bare only a short time ago now have substantial plants.

If you need new or additional pots this year, this is the time to look for them. The garden centers are stocked. Each place has its own style, so a good tour of all of the places might be in order.

Also, herbs and early summer annuals are beginning to show up at the garden centers. A couple of pots with early flowers would certainly be cheerful as the weather finally warms.

In my garden, I eagerly await the Oriental poppies. Oh how I live for them! My white lilac is in bud, as are the camassia and early blooming peonies, and there are still some late blooming daffodils. The lily-of-the-valley that was just showing green last week is now about to bloom. I have cleared out one of my beds and will plant some Rutgers tomatoes (remembered fondly from my childhood), Fortex beans (my favorite) on a trellis, and a new (for me, at least) butternut squash: Butterpie hybrid. It is a lot for one bed, but with trellises and some sprawling out of the bed, we should be fine. Now for the animal deterrents…

Jeanelle Myers is a professional gardener, landscaper and consultant. For gardening discussion you can call her at 631-434-5067. jeanellemyersfinegardening.com

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