The dark side of beauty…seasonal allergy at its worst!

I have been humbled.

In my last post I very enthusiastically shared about early signs of spring with photos of showy, colorful flowers and grasses from my weekly trips to a local garden.

Maybe I had a heightened sense of “good for me”–I’m enjoying spring!

That wasn’t my intention, but now that I’m suffering from seasonal allergies, which, by the way, have hit me with symptoms beyond any I’ve experienced in quite some time, I’m thinking that spring has a down side. Pollen counts are very high in my area.

Did you know there is an actual PollenCast website that offers pollen count alerts? f If you’re suffering as I am, click HERE to get an accurate local pollen count for your community.

So I’m on temporary hold for garden tours.

But I can still admire the beauty of our state flower, the California Poppy, which, as a side note, despite being my favorite wildflower, is listed as a known contributor to the seasonal pollen count. Seems a little ironic.

Henry Evans linoleum block print

This colorful California Poppy is a linoleum block print, part of a current Huntington Library exhibit devoted to the appreciation of California’s wildflowers. This Henry Evans print (1918-1990) is part of the more than 300 drawings, paintings and herbarium specimens on display.

The exhibit is called “When They Were Wild,” inspired by specimen-gathering artists collecting wildflowers that at the time weren’t even in domestication, then documenting their findings with artful illustration.

On show were beautiful works of art representing many different wildflowers, but I paid particular attention to my favorite, the bright orange California Poppy. It is such a happy flower!

This is a colorful and really interesting exhibit for anyone interested in learning a bit more about our native botanicals.

As a collaboration between The Huntington, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont and Theodore Payne Foundation, the heritage of wildflower illustrations from the late 19th century to mid 20th century  showcases the fieldwork contributions of wildflower enthusiasts. Field studies served as valuable research with the artist’s illustrations often accompanying a pressed flower or gathering of seeds that were of historical value to horticultural societies.

One goal of the exhibit is to inspire people to consider adding more wildflowers or other native plants to their home landscaping. The exhibit is spotlighting the wildflowers best suited for gardens within a 50-mile radius of the Huntington.

The Huntington has many wildflower related events right now, but I’m at least temporarily sidelined. I may need to steer clear.

The editor of the Pacific Horticulture magazine was quoted in today’s Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times stating gardeners are attracted to wildflowers because they are “pollen and nectar rich and valuable for sustaining pollinators, which have taken such a hit in the modern world.”

It’s the pollen part of the equation that’s giving me a hard time.

So while I’m taking a brief garden break, maybe it’s time for me to share about some outings I’ve had on the back burner.

Where is this?

Here’s where we’re going next. Any ideas? It’s not as beautiful as the wildflowers, but you may find it much more interesting. Many do…and it’s very unlikely to produce any allergic reactions.

Curious? Feel free to share your guess!

51 thoughts on “The dark side of beauty…seasonal allergy at its worst!

    • I’m glad you stopped by in the middle of your very busy day and project, Rob. I’ll be sharing about my next field trip soon. I’d have been very surprised if you’d recognized the photo! :-)

  1. allergies are horrid so you have my sympathies!
    the art work is lovely and what a great way to promote and encourage gardening with native flowers – right up my garden path :)
    So what is kept behind bars!

    • I don’t typically have much spring hay fever. Most of my more dramatic episodes are in the fall! But everyone is talking about what an early and tough season it is already, and I think that just speaks to how everything imaginable is in bloom! It’s uncomfortable, but I’m still unwilling to complain. I do love spring! The botanical art exhibit was very impressive, Claire. Artists painting what they observed in the field is a sure way to enjoy a garden over and over!

      • This will make you laugh – we spent a week in the French Alps a few summers ago – the plan was to do lots of walking. Well that got scrapped as I sneezed and coughed and dribbled to excess. In the end we had to drive a lot and with the windows up!! What a shame/waste :)

      • Oh my goodness, Claire! What a story! To plan to be in the glorious French Alps and then have your body rebel! How disappointing that would be. I’m not usually too bad, but right now everyone is coughing and sneezing. I have a good pharmacy! I’ll b fine. :-)

  2. Sorry to hear that you are in the midst of allergy season. Hang in there. No worries here for us. After all, it snowed yesterday. ;) … Not sure where you are taking us next, but I’m confident in an enjoyable journey.

    • I’ll have fun sharing the next field trip, Frank. It’s one of my favorite places. Not very pretty, but interesting! The nightly news has provided film coverage of midwest snow storms, and I can’t believe how winter has taken a firm footing and won’t give up! You don’t have allergy season yet, and you aren’t raking leaves. There is always an upside! LOL!

      • Debra,
        I got a chuckle on the raking leaves comment! … but some are still shoveling show. Fortunately, the latest storm only brought a few inches, which meant no shoveling. Meanwhile, cheers to you going to one of your favorite places!

    • I will just take good allergy medications, Nancy, and then soldier on! I love this time of year too much to change my behaviors too dramatically. I have half a voice today, so I’m doing better. LOL! Thank you. :-)

  3. I rely on that Pollencast throughout the spring too. We haven’t been hit with seasonal allergies yet – in fact we’re expecting 2-6 inches of snow today! For which I’m very grateful….I love spring flowers, but I can’t enjoy them as much as I’d like because of allergies. I feel much better in winter!

    • The actual Pollencast was new to me! The news reports have been quoting it, and I think it’s so interesting. I don’t typically have much trouble in spring, but mostly in the fall. I am feeling much better today, so some of my standby medications are doing the trick! Isn’t an ironic circumstance that so much beauty can make us quite literally sick. I am sure there is a parable of some sort buried in there, don’t you think? LOL! I’m glad that winter at least keeps you feeling better and allergy-free. I was watching the nightly news and keep seeing photos of the all the snow and I can hardly believe it’s still so plentiful. :-)

  4. I can’t even brave a guess as to where you are headed next, Debra, but surely can’t wait to find out.
    These prints are beautiful! I love poppies. We have a few growing here that I wait patiently to see, hoping the deer don’t trim, or the chipmunks, who like to shimmy up the stalks and bite off the buds. I become a madwoman when I see the stalks swaying, flaying about shouting “get off my poppies!”.
    I have seasonal allergies as well and can sympathize with you. A few years ago I started buying local honey, enjoying its flavor and trying to support local growers. I just put a bit in my morning tea, getting a wee bit of sweetness instead of sugar. After a time, Jennifer wondered if I’d noticed a lessening in my allergies. I had! She’d read/heard that using locally grown honey helps build up a tolerance.

    • Wow! I have never heard that about local honey, Penny. How interesting. It’s a great thought, and I will give it a try. My allergies are nothing like they used to be when I was younger, so this has been a surprise to hit early and so hard, but everyone is talking about having a rough time. Some of the poor local newscasters and radio personalities are even complaining. I did think it was so funny, though, because with all the beauty, and an obvious need for pollen, and then everyone is uncomfortable. :-) I am sure you would really appreciate the Huntington exhibit. Once again it highlighted the contribution of turn-of-the-century garden club members and their contribution to documenting the diversity and popularity of California flora. I am glad I can take photos, because if I painted any subject it would be unrecognizable! :-) I look forward to sharing more about my “teaser” photo!

  5. Last spring was my worst allergy event — it arrived early and stayed late, unwelcome pollen guests. I’m happy for the delay of spring this year…. I am guessing that you are taking us to the La Brea tar pits…. :-D

    • I was surprised you could recognize the tar pits, Natalie. I’m still just a big kid about that place! :-) I’m sorry you know allergies, too! I had allergy shots for several years to desensitize myself to the key allergens. I haven’t had much trouble in a very, very long time, and it’s funny that this year is starting out early and strong! I think I’ll just take more allergy medication and make peace with it. It’s a little early to consider staying indoors. I hope you’ll stop by to hear a little more about those tar pits! :-)

  6. Yes, La Brea tar pits was my guess too. The smell of tar is not as pleasant as a flower garden, but I think your allergies will remain under control : ) Enjoy!

  7. I love California poppies. The petals have a shimmery quality, like satin, and the feathery leaves make them very fancy. I know a couple yards that could use some guerrilla gardening, maybe I will sprinkle some seeds around and see what happens.

    That roiling water looks an awful lot like a methane eruption at the La Brea Tar Pits! I went through my photo album from my lat visit and guess what I found? California poppies! https://picasaweb.google.com/108041898401165241439/LaBreaTarPits?authkey=Gv1sRgCKvB0_C0vdbAfA#5636527973842877858

    • Your photos were great! I think we’ve been visiting a lot of the same places! I even have photos of the food trucks, too. I definitely think you should sprinkle some California Poppy seeds in your neighbors’ yards, and they’ll just think the birds have been busy! Thanks for sharing your photos. I really enjoyed seeing them. :-)

    • I don’t like to think of the wind whipping the pollen about, Sharyn. At least we haven’t had that. I know you would love the exhibit. I’ve made a point of contacting some of my friends who paint or draw, encouraging them to make a visit. I was very impressed with the idea that men and women had the foresight to collect specimens and then “preserve” them with their favored art medium. I really concentrated on the poppies, but there were so many other flowers. I found myself just luxuriating in the colors! I hope you’re doing well!

  8. California poppies are so beautiful and I should have mentioned how much I enjoyed your new header photo when I noticed it last week. (Please don’t tell me it’s been up there for 6 months.) It’s too bad that their pollen contributes to your allergy problems. There really are no free lunches. :( That’s one, rarely mentioned, plus of having such a late Spring. Our allergy sufferers get a bit of a break.
    I agree that the photo is of some tar pit, although aren’t the LaBrea Tar Pits off-limits? I look forward to our next lesson, Debra, not to mention the plans to transform that area.

    • Thank you for noticing the poppies, and no, I only changed the header on Friday. The poppies are bright and cheerful and despite the high pollen count I am truly enjoying the spring flowers. I actually think the oak trees are doing me in, but as the song says, “the hills are alive!” :-) Yes, it’s the La Brea Tar Pits. I have so much I could tell I may need to start a series! :-) Illinois snow storms made the national news again tonight, as I’m sure you know all too well. I’m suspecting you did NOT get to cleaning your yard on Saturday. Maybe next weekend?

  9. Hope you are feeling better, Debra. Your blog looks so happy and colorful with you new banner and photos of the flowers. Now I am curious as to what your next stop will be. :)

    • I have a little voice back, Marie, so I must be doing better! :-) Thank you. And yes, the California Poppies really brighten everything. They won’t last too long, but while they’re here, I really do love them!

  10. They say with food allergies.. we are attracted most to those foods we are most allergic too. It would seem that the same holds true for you and your wildflowers. What a shame that you’ve been struck with allergies at the most inopportune time, Debra, I sure hope the symptoms abate so you can get back out there soon.. those poppies are just stunning. I used to have many wild poppies in our home when we were first married. They’re the cheeriest of them all and such harbingers of spring! I have no clue where you are headed next.. I can’t wait to see, though! xx Smidge
    ps Toooo funny.. we were both Kindergarten teachers, that explains everything:D xx

    • Maybe I’ve just overdone it lately with all the garden influences, Barb. It did occur to me that the wistaria, as gorgeous as the festival was, may have started the whole chain of events. The fragrance was overwhelming! :-) Poppies are everywhere right now and so cheerful I can’t complain. The next field trip is a very interesting place…I hope you’ll enjoy tagging along!

  11. Very curious to see where you’re going next. :) I’m so sorry about your allergies. Those can just be so awful. I hope you’re feeling better soon. And those poppies are just gorgeous – very happy looking.

    • I’m feeling okay, Kristy. Everyone is stuffy and sneezing and even people who rarely have allergy symptoms are complaining. It’s almost funny, simply because the hills are literally alive! :-) I think you’ll enjoy our next field trip. It’s a place your children would find interesting, I’m sure! That’s a tease again, isn’t it?

    • I’ll bet you have many lovely wildflowers on display in the spring, Inger! It must be very beautiful. The desert has such diversity to offer, I always enjoy the opportunity to drive through during different times of year. But spring must be the most colorful! :-) Thank you for stopping by. Debra

  12. Oh, poor Debra! My DH also suffers from hayfever when the pollen count is at its highest and I know how miserable it is. if it’s any consolation his allergy has improved noticeably in recent years without medication, so perhaps there’s hope for you in the future.

    I love the gorgeous prints of the beautiful Californian poppy, which is a popular garden plant in the UK, though of course they don’t flower here until the summer. Still, it’s something to look forward to amid all this white. :-) I’m agog to learn where your mystery destination is….

    • I was so interested to learn the California poppy grows in the UK. It is hardy, but I wouldn’t have known of its travels! I think something must be blooming that isn’t typical for this time of year. My allergies are more severe than they usually are this time of year, but I can manage them well with some medication. Perhaps they will be temporary! I posted the mystery location tonight and I hope you find it interesting. I was so surprised that a couple of blogging buddies who live in another state still recognized the spot! :-)

  13. This season is really tough on people with allergies. Many of my friends are struggling, but fortunately enough I seem to away with the season without much problems.. The linoleum block print of the poppies is really beautiful. As for the picture revealing your next theme, it’s not revealing much is it? I guess I’ll just have to wait.

    • You’re right, the photo didn’t reveal much, but I was very surprised that a few visitors did recognize it! I posted about it tonight, and when you get the chance, I hope you’ll find it interesting. It is funny how the beauty of spring can bring on the sneezing! It’s good to hear from you, Otto. You’ve been very busy with your travels, and I appreciate you taking the time to stop by! :-)

  14. Dear Debra, I’m sorry you are suffering from allergy reactions to pollen, but I’m so glad you posted about wildflowers. I’m going to begin gardening now that I’ve settled here in Missouri. So I found the statement by the editor of the Pacific Horticulture magazine really interesting. I will look at the local nursery for wildflowers that would be “pollen and nectar rich and valuable for sustaining pollinators.” Peace.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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