COPD and Gardening
Choosing the Best Plants
Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.
- Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden

Almost everyone enjoys a beautiful flower garden, but growing and enjoying flowers of your own presents yet another challenge for the person living with COPD.

Often the pollen that blows through the air from flower to flower is irritating to those of us with sensitive airways. But there are plants whose flowers use birds and insects to transfer their pollen, keeping the air that you breathe a bit more pollen free.

A nice bonus to these types of plants are the large, bright flowers they bear,
designed by nature to attract the birds and insects they need to reproduce.

The plants in this list are all pollinated by insects or birds and will make a spectacular display in your garden -

Ageratum - long lasting annuals which can be planted in spring for summer flowering. They make ideal window box plants.

Alyssum - these plants can be used for garden borders, rock gardens, or in between flagstones. They make attractive ground cover plants and will self seed each year.
Plant them in full sun or semi-shade.

Snapdragons - ( one of my favorites) - another annual that comes in a beautiful variety of colors from yellows, oranges and whites to shades of pink and coral.

Begonias - low growers with glossy leaves, the flowers can be white, shades of pink or red. These plants do very well in the shade.

Bulbs - are great because you only have to plant them once and they spread year after year.
You can choose bulbs that will blossom all through your growing season from early spring to late fall.

Delphinium - are large growing annuals with many small flowers which appear along the tips.

Digitalis or foxglove - produce long pink bell shaped flowers. They are poisonous, so be careful if you have pets or young children about.

Gaura - commonly known as the Butterfly Bush.

Impatiens - another shade lover, these pretty flowers come in beautiful shades of pinks and purples along with white, red

Pansy and Viola - will give a vivid color range, from pastel to bright.
They will often self-sow from year to year and remain from early spring into the summer.

Petunias - a pretty plant that is great for containers and hanging baskets,
It tolerates heat very well.

Verbena - these plants come in a variety of sizes, shapes and beautiful colors.

Some ideas to remember:

-choose plants that are pollinated by insects or birds rather than by the wind. Not only do their flowers tend to be larger and brighter than the other varieties, they also produce pollen that is larger, heavier and sticks to the flowers, making it less likely to be inhaled.

-avoid going out into the garden on either hot, still days or very windy days

-use low growing, spreading plants for ground cover or choose low pollen producing grass that does not require frequent mowing for your lawn (ask for advice at your garden center for recommendations for your area)

-use an inorganic mulch like small stones, colored garden glass and rocks to help control weeds.

- get rid of weeds around your yard quickly, before they have a chance to mature - weeds are usually wind pollinating

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