ACHOO! Pollen Allergies and Wildflowers

November 26, 2018 0 Comments

ACHOO! Pollen Allergies and Wildflowers

It doesn’t matter if the frost is on the pumpkin or there’s a layer of ice in the birdbath, I’ve got allergies year round.

My allergies have allergies. 

There’s an entire ecosystem of pollen in my sinuses.

I often wake to a symphony of sneezing.

The essential oil I bought, which is supposed to lessen allergies and congestion, makes me sneeze. 

I had about 8 years of allergy desensitization shots starting when I turned 16. And for awhile they worked. But my move to Boise, Idaho introduced a whole garden full of new pollens and now… 


It’s a hostile world out there in nature. If pollen were human-sized, none of us would ever venture outdoors. But because we can’t see pollen until we find it coating our cars and patio furniture, we blithly wander to and fro unaware that our clothes, hair and skin is bathed in pollen.

It's a good thing this little one doesn't have allergies. (Photo: Jessie Eastland, Wikipedia)

image of bee covered in pollen

The other day I read an article that pollen allergies can actually cause anxiety! Apparently, histamine, which is released during an allergy attack, can rise to levels beyond what our bodies can get rid of and then cause symptoms like anxiety.

What's A Sneezer to Do?

Well, you could live in a bubble in your living room. But that’s not an ideal solution for nature lovers. I’m wise enough to know that not every flower I have in my garden contributes to my allergies. But I’m cautious enough that I rarely bend down, put my nose to the flower and inhale, unless I want a nose full of alien invaders wearing stilettos while dancing in my sinuses. If your passion is a garden with lots of flowers blooming year round, perhaps the answer lies in simply avoiding planting the biggest pollen offenders.

The Worst Flowers for People With Allergies

The worst offenders, according to the website, The Spruce, are:

1. Aster. Yikes. I have large bushes of asters in my garden, front and back. But it’s so pretty and it’s a late bloomer!

2. Baby’s Breath. Whew. I don’t like it that much anyway. Watch out for that bouquet of flowers your loved one just handed you.

3. Dahlia. NOOOOOO! But they’re so pretty! Well, it seems the hybirds called “formal doubles” have virtually no pollen. So go for it.

4. Daisy. Awww, shoot. I love daisies. But take comfort in knowing that the pollen from daisies isn’t transferred by wind. Just don’t bend down and sniff the blossoms.

5. Gerber Daisies. Keep them outdoors at a safe nose distance.

6. Chamomile. Oh, I wish I had known that before I seeded my backyard garden with it. Fortunately I removed most of it but still have some cropping up. 

7. Chrysanthemums. Admire from a distance.

8. Sunflowers. Don't fret, there are some pollen-free ones such as ‘Apricot Twist’ and ‘Joker’. 

Goldenrod Isn’t Your Sinuses’ Enemy

A lot of people think that goldenrod (Solidago) is notorious for causing allergies. WebMd reports that it’s one of the worst. It’s unfortunate that we all keep getting erroneous information from the Internet because we rely on it and then spread the misinformation.

Research by entomologist Doug Tallamy of University of Delaware lists asters and goldenrods as the wildflowers that support the most species of butterflies and moths. 

John Muir was a big fan of goldenrod. In one of his letters he wrote, “The fragrance and the color and the form, and the whole spiritual expression of goldenrods are hopeful and strength-giving beyond any other flowers that I know. A single spike is sufficient to heal unbelief and melancholy.” 

Awesome! I’m going to go out and sniff some goldenrod. And in homage to the Goldenrod, I’ve got some new products in the shop to celebrate this wonderful plant.

Goldenrod Canvas Wrap (shop for it here)

Goldenrod Floral Pillow Cover (shop for it here)

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