Hay Fever

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I have recently been commissioned by a client who has hay fever. Never having suffered myself (now that would be suffering for my art) I’ve been doing some research into exactly what it is, how it’s induced by plants, and which plants.

Hay fever, I now understand, is the body’s abnormal reaction to foreign material that it comes into contact with. This is normally pollen (from wind pollinated plants), seasonal plants, grasses and seeds. Hay fever attacks are most common on hot, windy days because during damp days, moisture sticks to the air borne pollen, pulling it safely down to the ground.

Top tips for avoiding hay fever inducing arrangements:

  1. Spray a fine mist of water over your flowers to dampen down pollen in the air.

  2. Shake them well outdoors before putting them in a vase.

  3. Try to use flowers that have low amounts of pollen and aren’t wind pollinated. Below is a small list I have compiled through my reading.

First, the most serious offenders. Daisies, gerberas, daffodils, and Australia’s golden wattle. Tulips and most other bulbs are lesser culprits but many should still be avoided. In general, any flower with a strong scent will produce a lot of pollen (that’s usually what you’re smelling) and can cause an allergic reaction. Roses may either be unscented or heavily scented, always use unscented if dealing with a hey fever suffer.

One of the best things you could choose are carnations and orchids. Other good low-pollen flowers include irises, crocus, azaleas, double chrysanthemums, calla lilies, arum lilies and hydrangeas. Foliage is no problem what so ever so I have chosen to do a highly textural arrangement using only unscented roses and hydrangea as the blooms. I then plan to spray the arrangements to dampen them before the event.

Hope this may be helpful if you get a commission of a similar nature or want to buy a bouquet for a hay fever sufferer. And do let me know if there are particular things that induce your hey fever?!

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