ShadyGardens Blog

October 11, 2013

Goldenrod is Not to Blame for your Allergies

Filed under: allergies, allergy, Goldenrod, hay fever, nasal, pollen, ragweed, South — shadygardens @ 9:12 pm
This time of year, many of us are suffering from nasal allergies. The more time spent outdoors in Fall, the more congestion I have. I look around me, and everywhere I go, I see voluptuous, beautiful, and very bright yellow flower spikes. This is Goldenrod (Solidago.)
Goldenrod on Highway 29 in West Point, Georgia

To me, Goldenrod has always been too beautiful for me to suspect as the culprit for my Fall allergy flareups. For years I have brought in large bouquets to fill my house with the beauty of Fall. (My favorite time of the year, by the way.)


Most people do blame Goldenrod for their Fall allergies, because when they go outdoors and start sneezing, they look around and see Goldenrod everywhere. It’s all over the side of the road and in almost every vacant lot around here.



But it is not Goldenrod that is to blame. You probably have not ever noticed the true culprit. Blooming at the very same time as Goldenrod is the insignificant looking Ragweed. I had to borrow this image, because I pull up every piece of Ragweed I see trying to grow in our garden.

Ragweed image borrowed from The Weed Library
Ragweed has very small greenish flowers that you would not notice, but they sneakily put out huge amounts of pollen that floats in the air and into your nose. Here lately, we’ve had lots of nice breezes, and that breeze is helping the Ragweed Pollen to travel for miles.

Goldenrod is not capable of causing allergies, because it produces no air-borne pollen. Goldenrod is pollinated by insects, and only wind-pollinated plants such as Ragweed can cause seasonal allergies. (Some other wind-pollinated allergy-causers are Oaks, Pines, and Grasses.)

Another piece of interesting information: All parts of the Goldenrod plant are edible. From the flowers all the way down to the stems, each part of this plant has value and importance. The Native Americans had many uses for Goldenrod. The flowers are a lovely addition to salads, both the flowers and the leaves can be used to make tea (it is said to be bitter), and the leaves can be cooked like spinach. I intend to try some today!


For more information, visit the Allergy/Hay Fever Information Center.

January 18, 2009

Deer-Proof Gardening in the South

Filed under: Daphne, Deer, deterrant, ga, garden, Hellebore, repellant, resistant, rohdea, rosemary, South — shadygardens @ 8:14 pm

As a nursery owner, I’m often asked how I keep deer from eating the plants. Well, actually I use a number of methods, none of them expensive. Deer fencing is not an option for us, since a fence must surround the whole garden and be 10 feet tall to keep out deer. And it would be impossible for us to spray our whole garden with deer repellent after every rain or watering.

Our large black lab Shadow used to keep the deer away from everything, but now that she’s getting older, she seems to have befriended some of them, lying down with them as they eat.

The best thing to do, since as gardeners, you’ll be planting anyway, is to choose plants deer won’t eat.

A good plant type to use are those with prickly leaves or thorny branches, but deer do have the ability to pick berries and roses in spite of the thorns. I’ve even found where they’ve tasted of my holly shrubs and pyracantha, if you can believe it!

And although it’s true that deer seem to know what is poisonous to them, some plants that are poisonous to us are not so to deer, such as rhododendron and azaleas, for instance.

I hope to share with you some of our experience with this short list of plants that have proved to be not quite so tasty to the deer in our garden:

  • Acuba
  • Aspidistra
  • Barberry
  • Boxwood
  • Daffodil
  • Daphne odora
  • Dusty Miller
  • Fatsia Japanica
  • Hellebore, Helleborus
  • Loropetalum
  • Oleander
  • Osmanthus
  • Rohdea
  • Viburnum
  • Yaupon Holly


Also, all aromatic herbs, with the exception of basil, are detested by deer. And the fragrance of rosemary, which is very pleasing to us, seems to have a repellant effect on deer, causing them to go elsewhere in their search of food.

For a list of native plants that aren’t usually food for deer, please visit our other site, Plant Native.

January 29, 2008

Rabbiteye Blueberry Bushes Easy to Grow in Georgia

Filed under: Becky Blue, Blueberries, blueberry, Bush, Climax, Georgia, plant, Premier, rabbiteye, shade, shrub, South, southeast, variety — shadygardens @ 3:52 pm

Many times Blueberry Bushes sold in our local garden center stores will not grow here in Georgia—they are not able to tolerate our summer heat and humidity. There are several “Rabbiteye” varieties recommended for the Southeast. Highbush blueberries will not thrive in our area.

When selecting blueberry plants for your garden, look for Becky Blue, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, or Woodard. For a good crop of berries, you will need 2 or more different varieties for cross-pollination.

Although blueberry bushes normally occur in the woods, more berries will develop when the plants receive at least half a day of sun and plenty of water.

The planting hole is important for getting the plant off to a good start. An effective planting method is to dig the hole twice as wide as the rootball and the same depth. Mix the soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, and peat moss. Place the plant in the planting hole and fill the hole completely with water before filling in with soil. After filling in around the roots with the amended soil, water again, and apply a thick layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool.

Water weekly. You’ll be eating blueberries every year, as long as you get to them before the birds do!

October 30, 2007

Blueberry Growing Tips for a Georgia Garden

Many times Blueberry Bushes sold in our local garden center stores will not grow here in Georgia—they are not able to tolerate our summer heat and humidity. There are several “Rabbiteye” varieties recommended for the Southeast. Highbush blueberries will not thrive in our area. When selecting blueberry plants for your garden, look for Becky Blue, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, or Woodard. For a good crop of berries, you will need 2 or more different varieties for cross-pollination. Although blueberry bushes normally occur in the woods, more berries will develop when the plants receive at least half a day of sun and plenty of water. The planting hole is important for getting the plant off to a good start. An effective planting method is to dig the hole twice as wide as the rootball and the same depth. Mix the soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, and peat moss. Place the plant in the planting hole and fill the hole completely with water before filling in with soil. After filling in around the roots with the amended soil, water again, and apply a thick layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep the soil cool. Water weekly. You’ll be eating blueberries every year, as long as you get to them before the birds do!

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