Designing a low-allergen garden course

16th May 2024 10am

This short course will provide an understanding of low allergen plants and how to design a low allergen garden, making it a safe and happy place to be. The course tutor is Olivia Kirk, RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist and expert in allergen planting.

During this course we will be:

• exploring what allergies are and why they are now so prevalent
• looking at which plants to avoid and why
• looking at the best structural planting options to give a visually pleasing backbone to your low allergen garden and protect it from allergenic planting that is outside your garden
• discussing design techniques and creative planting combinations

The day:

10am Prompt start with intro and coffee
10.30-1.00pm Classroom activities with Olivia
1.00pm Lunch in our garden café with tutors
2pm Tour of garden with gardener Tamsin Westhorpe and Olivia
3pm End of learning day but free time to enjoy the gardens

Fee: £120
10 places in total

A little bit about how Olivia got into this style of planting:
In 2010 I was asked by the University of Worcester to design a garden outside their newly built Pollen Research Unit. This garden was to be a showcase for low allergen planting, demonstrating that these gardens don’t need to be just foliage, a common misconception, they can also have joyous planting to lift the soul. Having extensively researched this style of planting for this particular garden, I suddenly had a Eureka moment – the planting included in a garden can have either a positive or a detrimental effect on the health of the people using the garden. As I specialise in designing healing gardens, working a lot with hospices, it suddenly became obvious to me that the plants I chose had the potential to add a layer of discomfort to people who already had weakened immune systems. Since this moment I have strongly advocated this style of planting for any public spaces, especially as numbers of hay fever sufferers have increased dramatically over the last 50 years.
My hope is that by the end of this short course you will have the knowledge to create a garden haven with some careful planning and planting. Just a few changes can and will make an enormous difference.

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