Figures suggest that three in 10 people in the UK suffer from hay fever and June and July are particularly troublesome months. The upcoming grass pollen peak is predicted to affect 95% of sufferers.
You can help your symptoms by preventing pollen getting into your eyes with wraparound sunglasses and using Vaseline around your nostrils. Keep an eye on the pollen count and avoid gardening on the days when it is high, in the early morning and also when it is windy.
There are some changes you can make in your garden too:
There are also some simple swaps you can make, that won’t affect the look of your garden. money.co.uk has worked with Jackie Herald, an expert in low allergen gardening, to identify some:
Swap Common jasmine (Jasminum) for Star jasmine (Trachelospermum)
Trachelospermum is tolerant of shade and its perfume is less heady than common jasmine. However, it will produce more flowers and scent in a sunny spot. It’s lovely, but don’t plant too much if your outdoor space is very enclosed.
Swap single-flowered chrysanthemums for double-flowered chrysanthemums
Double flowers have less pollen than single ones. But if you have the space, planting just a few singles dotted among a sea of doubles makes a lovely contrast and will not affect the total pollen count for your garden too significantly.
Swap Love-lies-bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) for Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Buddleia blooms point up rather than hang down like the Amaranthus. But if you’re looking for a butterfly magnet with height and exuberant colour in your herbaceous border, there is a good choice of Buddleia varieties available.
Swap Bottlebrush (Callistemon) for Grevillea
Grevillea is better for people with allergies due to its tubular flowers, as the bees have to probe inside to reach the pollen. Grevillea wafts elegantly, and the texture of its foliage makes an attractive contrast to strappy and broader leaves.
Swap Mimosa (Acacia) for Mahonia
Mahonia is very different in shape and habit but if you like vivid yellow flowers there’s a wide choice of cultivars. It’s a good source of pollen for bees in late winter, and some cultivars have a delicious scent. The berries that follow in spring are loved by blackbirds.