These healthy steps will make your backyard a wonderful setting of the love of nature:
Give your yard pops of color – Violets, impatiens, bougainvillea, and other vivid blooms are top picks for allergy sufferers, according to Thomas Leo Ogren, author of The Allergy-Fighting Garden. They are pollinated by bees, which are attracted to vibrant hues, not by wind, so pollen stays put. Plants with closed petals, like snapdragons, are good choices, too. Light green or off-white flowers are among the worst offenders: They’re wind reliant, so each breeze throws pollen in the air, causing irritation.
Your garden is your gym too!
Even if your thumb’s more black than green, gardening still provides major benefits. It can ease stress and up your happiness, according to the Journal Preventive Medicine Reports, and gardeners have lower BMIs, too. Here’s how three activities stack up in calories burned per hour:
General gardening (Planting, weeding): 344 calories
Yard work (pruning, raking): 269 calories
Spreading compost or mulching: 235 calories
For the Birds
Build feathery friends a home – Wild birds, such as sparrows and hummingbirds, feast on insects as if it’s their job. Your goal? Attract them to your yard so they can keep your plants free of bugs. Hang different types of feeders to draw a variety of creatures: Hummingbirds love red-color feeders filled with nectar, while sparrows flock to more typical birdhouses packed with seeds and grains.
Say bye to these suckers – West Nile, chikungunya, and Zika are just a few of the mosquito-borne diseases to keep on your radar. Your biggest worry depends on your part of the country, but the recommendations are the same. Get rid of standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs, including birdbaths and empty flowerpots. Clogge, messy gutters also give off come-hither vibes, so clean those too.
Create some lawn envy – Who doesn’t want lush, toe-tickling turf? Most lawns should be fertilized at least once a year to feed grass a buffet of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you have pets or kids who roll around in the green, choose an organic fertilizer, like those from Espoma or Bonide. Consult a local nursery about what type of TLC will help you grow a great lawn and reduce the need for pesticides. If you do use one, always read and follow directions, since pesticides can be toxic. Wear protective clothing, stay off the grass for recommended time.
Know when to give up on shrubs – If you have plants in your garden that always look buggy or dirty (with black or gray mildewy spots), they are not thriving and can’t defend themselves. The result: insect dander and mold, the two powerful allergens. It’s time to give ’em the heave-ho.
Credit: Taken from – Dr. Oz The Good Life, June 2017 issue