It's Your Life December/January 2015 - 2016 - Page 17

December/January S The “Allergy- Fighting Garden” Book Review top Asthma and Allergies with Smart Landscaping Joyce Wheeler I was approached by author Thomas Leo Ogren with a request to review his book. When I saw the title I could not refuse, all three of the males in our home have allergies. I opted for a hardcopy to review and I am glad I did because this is a must have book for anyone who deals with plants, shrubs, or trees to have on their bookshelf. Allergies are associated with asthma which I see in both my husband and youngest child. The author states that those with allergies to pollen are more likely to develop food allergies and intolerances, also when pollen levels were high there were more deaths. While allergies may be trigger by multiple things pollen is the most common. The author states that pollen allergies can be controlled by the landscaping around our homes, businesses, schools, and other public spaces that utilize landscaping. Thomas has a degree in agricultural science, is 17 a horticulturist, and former landscape gardener instructor, nursery owner, and gardening radio show host. It was his wife who brought him on his journey of 30 years of research. She suffered from allergies and asthma and he witnessed the pain and misery it brought to her. Upon purchasing a new home he decided to do some research into which plants, trees, and shrubs were least likely to aggravate allergies. As Thomas searched for materials on the subject he realized none existed. That led him to do his own research one plant at a time where he learned more about botany, medicine, pollen, and the plant flowering system. This led him to create the Ogren’s allergy scale which rates plants, shrubs, and trees on a scale from 1 – 10. He discusses how dioecious, separate sex plants, have a major effect on our current health situation via allergies and asthma. During the 1940s the Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggested that those growing dioecious trees or shrubs through cutting, grafting, and budding use only the male section. This was because the males did not make a mess on the ground and sidewalks like their female counter parts do. The disturbance of the natural way things occurred had a major impact on the growing numbers of those with allergies and asthma. I like the fact that all the information is easy to understand, educational, and not wordy and lengthy at all. He gets to the point in the first 8 chapters which deal with various aspects of plants and the best way to use them to lower pollen levels. 2015