July 9, 2018
Author Peter Prakke.
Author Peter Prakke.
Horticulturist Peter Prakke has a new book titled, Veterans Gardening Guide.

Both experienced gardeners and budding gardeners alike will discover a new world in the Veterans Gardening Guide for those suffering from allergies, asthma and COPD.

“A runny or stuffy nose, red eyes, sneezing or wheezing caused by allergies are a fact of life for millions of allergy sufferers,” writes Peter in his new book. What we plant in the garden has a direct effect on our health and the health of those near us,” said Prakke.
In the book, readers will learn how some male and female plants behave differently. Female plants produce fruit and seeds, and male plants produce pollen. Male plants don’t produce pollen year-round.

“A pollen-producing male tree will easily expose you to ten times more pollen than a similar tree growing down the neighbourhood block,” Prakke says.

“Pollen levels in the city and urban areas are high and increasing due to global warming and the interaction with air pollution. The perfect solution is to limit the number of male plantings and focus our attention on female plants that trap pollen and clean the air of particles and shed no pollen,” continues Prakke.

The author made it his mission to promote landscapes of allergy-friendly plantings to ease the discomfort of individuals with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory challenges.

The United States Department of Agriculture and the American Lung Association use the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale (OPALS) to measures the allergy potential of all garden and landscape plants. According to OPALS creator, Thomas Ogren, pollen isn’t always that easy to see, nor is it bright yellow. It can be white, grey, green, brown, red, and even purple.

According to Ogren, a plant need not necessarily be female to be allergy-free, and a good OPALS ranking is always an indication of low potential to cause allergy or asthma. “If you are able to purchase a plant that has an actual OPALS ranking
(1 to 10) tag on it, then that is something you can trust.”

The Veterans Gardening Guide lists hundreds of plants, each with its own OPALS ranking.

Born and educated in Holland, Prakke has worked in agriculture, husbandry and horticulture in the Netherlands, England, Kuwait, and Canada. He created the Plant a Tree – Create a Park program in Smiths Falls, Ont., and most recently started the Bravery Park initiative to honour veterans in allergy-friendly park settings. The first two bravery parks are located in Orangeville, Ont., and Prince George, B.C. Peter works tirelessly to promote allergy-friendly landscapes in school yards and in both private- and government-owned properties.

For more information, visit VeteransGardeningGuide.com.