Today is the 48th Earthday, so how will you celebrate?
You might think about taking a walk in a nature preserve or maybe taking a kayak ride. While those are great things to do (I hope to get to them both), perhaps you could do something a little more meaningful and longer term.
How about making a commitment to take care of that portion of the earth you are responsible for in a more responsible way?
Is a Garden a Zoo for Plants
While writing this post, I saw this tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson:
A garden is a zoo for plants
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) April 22, 2018
While I agree with Neil that most gardens are, they do not have to be.
Your garden can be different. It can be a living community of not only plants but also insects, birds, mammals and other life.
But to make it such will require you to do things differently than you have done in the past. Status quo landscaping and yard care will get you status quo impact on the environment and that status quo is not so great.
Don’t worry you can still have a lawn, you can still have pretty flowers, you can still have four season interest, you can still screen the view of your crazy neighbor lady with all of her cats.
Instead of creating a “Zoo” of plants from Europe, China, and Japan, your yard can be full of native plants that create a garden habitat for beneficial birds and insects. It’s not simple and it takes some planning and thought. It is however worth it.
If you would like my help, I will begin offering services beyond consulting this June. See AndersonNaturalLandscapes.com for more information.
Earth Friendly steps you can take in your yard
- Reduce the size of your lawn. How about replacing a part of it with a low maintenance meadow?
- Let your lawn go dormant during the heat of the summer. You will not only save on water but you can can take a break from mowing.
- Replace your gas powered lawn mower with an electric or manual reel mower. If you chose the reel mower, you can even get a good workout in. If you have an old gas mower, at least consider getting a new one as they are much more efficient and cause less pollution.
- Mow high and use a mulching mower – you’ll use less energy and return nitrogen to the soil.
- Go old school by raking your leaves instead of using a leaf blower. You will improve local air quality, reduce noise and save energy. Recycle those leaves by using them in a compost pile, shredding them with your mower and returning them to your gardens, or just leaving them in a bed to decompose. You will save money and energy over trucking them to a landfill and you will enrich your soil .
- Plant a native tree in the right location to reduce your Air conditioning bill. Pick a native oak and you will help support hundreds of species of wildlife too.
- Learn how to identify locally invasive plants and remove them from your property. This might even include plants you bought!
- When picking landscape plants, choose natives to your area which will be a food source for beneficial insects, birds and animals. Read plant labels to ensure they are from neonicotinoid-free nurseries.
- Save the rain, capture rainwater in barrels for use during dry periods. Install rain gardens to help recharge the aquifers and prevent runoff from polluting your local creeks and lakes. Use permeable materials for a new patio, walkway and parking areas to do the same.
- Minimize your use of pesticides by using mechanical and cultural controls. Read up on and start doing Integrated Pest Management and organic pest control.
And don’t forget to take that walk or kayak ride! Happy Earthday!