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Allergy-free Gardening Guru to visit Christchurch

14 November 2007

The role plants play in allergies will come under the spotlight next week.

The public are invited to a lecture entitled Allergy-free Landscapes – Urban Trees and People, a Public Health Issue on Friday, 23 November from 7.30pm to 9pm

Sponsored by the Christchurch City and Selwyn District councils, the lecture which is part of the New Zealand Arboricultural Conference will feature US Tom Ogren, author of many articles on health and gardening and five books, including Allergy-free Gardening.

Transport and Greenspace manager Michael Aitken says: “We believe this will be a topic of strong interest to many Canterbury people and which will help people to think about their current gardening and planting practices.

All round the world, cities, schools, hospitals and health organisations are starting to recognise the impact of tree selection on human health., especially for allergies.’’

Mr Ogren has been researching the impact of plant-related allergies on people’s health and has ranked several thousand commonly used landscape plants, trees and shrubs.

In his second book, Safe Sex in the Garden and Other Propositions in an Allergy-free World, he explores the connection between horticulture’s under-use of female pollen-free plants, the vast over-use of male clonal cultivars and the ever-growing incidence of allergies.

For many years, Mr Ogren says, people have planted urban landscapes without considering the cost to allergy and asthma sufferers and each decade, the urban pollen-allergy problem has increased to where it is now at an epidemic proportion.

Avoidance is the key issue in allergy relief so the fewer allergenic trees in the landscape, the less chance people have of being exposed, says Mr Ogren.

The lecture will take place in the Great Hall at the Chateau on the Park. Admission is by a gold coin

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