Saving Mother Earth

Polar Bear @Denver Zoo 2009-02-14 LAH 351r (2)Save the monarchs. Save the rhinos. Save the polar bears. When I was growing up, it was save the whales. If you are on any conservation mailing lists, you know that there are plenty of beloved creatures in danger of extinction. Of course, these organizations all remind us that the way to save these poor, benighted creatures is to send money, lots of money.

This isn’t to say that these species aren’t in danger. And it isn’t that I don’t care about monarch butterflies, polar bears, or rhinos. I’ve been an environmentalist since my childhood, and I’m passionate about conservation.

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Green is for Gardens

aquilegia-caerulea-blue-columbine-cottonwood-pass-summit-15july05-lah-005“The Green Guide, National Geographic’s source for greening your life.” “Green Home—everything you need to create a healthy home environment.” Green-collar jobs, green building, and green news. Green is certainly the color of the decade. Yet, long before green became such a household buzzword, gardeners were growing green plants. Isn’t gardening the original green industry?

Gardening is a partnership with nature. Therefore, it is only fitting that we create our landscapes with an awareness of how our actions in our gardens impact the environment. Over the next few months, I plan to post a series of articles on how to garden green. Hopefully my list will inspire you to come up with ideas of your own. I’d love to hear your input.

dsc_7100Green gardening requires an understanding of ecology. What vegetation would naturally grow on this site? What stress factors do these plants need to cope with? Will the plants grow in sun or shade? Is it windy? How hot and cold will it get here?  How about yearly rainfall? Is the ground level or sloping? What is the soil like? Is it acidic or alkaline, clay or sand? What bugs or other animals eat plants in this area? Understanding how plants grow, and how they are adapted to their surroundings, lets us choose a landscape in harmony with nature.

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