Category Archives: Horticulture Tips

The dialogue will be about how to grow plants and make them healthier.

Book Review “The Allergy Fighting Garden” by Thomas Leo Ogren

Book Review “The Allergy-Fighting Garden”

by Thomas Leo Ogren

The Allergy-Fighting Garden Reviewed by Kenneth Wilson “The Gardening Whisperer”.

This review is prepared to be on www.Gadeneningwhisperer.com.   This book was written by Thomas Leo Ogren, 2015 and edited by Lisa Regul of Ten Speed Press.

Thomas has a Masters Degree in Agricultural Science with an emphasis on plant flowering systems and their relationships to allergy. He is the creator of (OPALS) or the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale.  He has been a teacher, business owner, landscaper, has been on TV. He has written many books and articles about plants and allergies. His whole career has been given to helping those with allergies.

I have learned a lot in my many years in horticulture and thought I had figured out a lot of answers until I read Tom Ogren’s book about Allergies.  In the beginning, he lays out the dilemma about allergies he noticed that his wife’s asthma attacks happened when her allergies were at their worst and pollen was everywhere.  He then isolated the plants that were producing the major pollen problems and then started to design a yard without the male pollen spores and used female plants that would attract and hold the pollen so it did not blow about causing problems. He has written several books and has been seen on television on several programs. He established the (OPALS) scale or the (Ogren, Pollen, Allergy Scale), which rates from one (1) to ten (10) the severity of a plant to be an irritant that would cause allergies to humans. He uses several variables to determine this number.

He describes how pollen and allergy have been on the increase in the United States and how the practices of horticulturists have increased the number of pollen grains flying around. His explanation is that the drive to produce more male plants so as to reduce female plants so there is less trash to pick up under female trees. The increase of male trees which has added more pollen and fewer female trees to grab hold of the pollen has added immensely the amount of air-born pollen.  His explanation of how a plant is pollinated is excellent and he lists some of the major plants that are wind-pollinated.  He gives advice on establishing a plant screen to help reduce the amount of flying pollen.

At the end of the book, Tom has included in this book are one thousand plus plant and their (OPALS) number.  It contains all types of plants, trees, shrubs, grasses, annuals, and perennials this is very helpful in designing your allergy-free garden.  Unfortunately, there are many plants in the United States and this list is only a start.

It is an excellent book and must be read to think about what other horticulture practices are doing to unbalance the environment. These practices may also affect the pollination balance with native plants thus affecting bee problems.

Get yourself a copy of “T
he Allergy-Fighting Garden” by Thomas Leo Ogren and enlighten yourself.

©Ken Wilson Gardening Whisperer 2016

GROUNDHOGS DAY

GROUNDHOGS DAY

As told by Tree Frog:

Weather Frog

It is only One (1) more days until Groundhogs Day, so what. Why silly people have been using a Ground Hog or whatever they can find to predict the coming of spring and fresh flowers. Their guesswork is based on years of practice and refining. A tradition from the Pennsylvania German as it’s called Grundsaudaag or Murmeltiertag is celebrated on February 2.  If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

The human’s dress in their funny costumes and old hats only to get bitten by a cranky groundhog that wants no part of their ancient traditions only to be left alone so he can go back into his winter borrow until its spring.   Why humans do not look at a calendar to know it probably will be about six weeks more until spring I do not know.

As for me, I rely on the small flies and insects to predict spring. When they are flying I am filling my stomach. As the temperature warms, I start to warm and so do the insects.  I start catching my lunch as they fly by. It is the best time of the year unless some stupid human misused insecticides last year and killed my lunch, which will be bad for me.  Humans just disrupt nature to please themselves with no regard for what is going on around them.

The weatherman here is calling for rain so maybe we will have an early spring. Whatever happens on groundhogs day and his shadow, the flavor of the day at Culver’s is Twix Mix. Have a happy Ground Hogs Day.

©www.gardingwhisperer.com 2016

This entry was posted in Horticulture TipsUncategorized and tagged Ground Hog DayInsectsWeather on February 1, 2016, by Ken WilsonEdit

END OF 2015 START OF 2016

END OF 2015 START OF 2016

To my many friends ;

This is an ending picture of the year; it is a tribute of lilacs of past spring and the consideration of next spring’s blossoms to come. I hope you’ll (southern term) have had a grand 2015 and will have an enormous 2016.

I hope 2016 will bring me time and energy to write more and take more incredible photos so I can share it with my friends.

Once again have Happy 2016.

This entry was posted in Horticulture TipsWeather on December 31, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit

GLADIOLAS

GLADIOLAS

GLADIOLAS

Gladiolas Pink

Gladiolas or Glad’s as some people call them are a great summer bulb. Their attractiveness has diminished in the last decade or two. They were highly used as a cut flower in massive bouquets.  They do not winter hardy and have to be dug and stored over the winter and planted the following year. As it is not a native and the time involved to grow them many a Gardner has chosen not to grow them.

If you grew them this year it is the time to dig them and store in a 45. degree non-lighted area.  Do not let them freeze.

However, this all said they are a glorious addition to a garden and are a great cut flower. Look now for some great looking colors for next spring.

© www.gardeningwhisperer.com 2015

This entry was posted in Horticulture Tips and tagged Cut FlowersGladiolasSummer Bulbs on September 27, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit

History of Bees

History of Bees

Bee History

We are in the dog days of summer and many summer flowers are the stopping off place for many insects that also enjoy the summer flowers. Bees are looking for pollen and nectar that help maintain and build their hives over the winter. Honeybees are one of the first animals that were domesticated by man. Honey and beeswax have long been a sought after products by man. These little workhorses are good at turning pollen and nectar into a food fit for Kings and the wax was used for many things. It does not go bad without refrigeration and stays good for some time.  It was also fermented to make mead a drink talked about in ancient times used by Vikings and Roman Gods.  The wax used as a preservative and a source for light.

The honeybee is not native to North America and was brought to the colonies along with other English livestock to help settle the United States.  They were difficult to bring over onboard ships but once here they established and were foraging ahead of the colonization of America. As agriculture grew and we moved west honeybees went also giving homesteaders food and sugar to use to survive the stark and bleak farm homesteads.

There is a law of supply and demand that at about a radius of 4 miles is what a bee can travel and bring pollen back to hive. The forage out in this radius and bring back the best pollen and nectar that can be gotten in the shortest time but the easiest to harvest. If you live on the outer region of this radius bees may be at your flowers one day and somewhere else the next. It is wise to grow several types of flowers that bloom at different times ensuring a constant supply of pollen and nectar.

Honey bees are under attack for many reasons, but planting many types of flowers where they can get pollen and nectar to make honey and beeswax to live through the winter will help.  The horticultural crops that they pollinate in spring and early summer have long gone and now they need more summer and fall flowers a must to sustain their health and the health of the hive.

©Ken Wilson & Gardening Whisperer 2015

This entry was posted in Horticulture TipsInsects and tagged HoneyHorticulture tipsNativePollen on September 12, 2015, by Ken WilsonEdit