In her wise and elegant new book, “Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants,” Dr. Jane Goodall with Gail Hudson, blends her experience in nature with her enthusiasm for botany to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around us. Continuing their exploration here, Dr. Goodall provides ideas and inspiration for what readers can do to get involved in and protect the world of plants.
Sustainable gardening reduces the use of chemicals and watering while enhancing the health of the local environment. It also helps us connect with plants in ways that are mutually beneficial. The key is to use native plants, which have evolved specifically to thrive in your particular climate. Native plants will be easier to maintain and are more likely than exotics to be resistant to local pests and diseases. Native species also have the added benefit of attracting indigenous wildlife.
The following are some suggestions for maintaining a sustainable garden:
- Collect rain to water your garden and/or install a drip irrigation system, which directs water where plants are most likely to absorb it.
- Enrich soil and reduce waste by composting.
- Reserve planting for late fall or early spring to promote root growth.
- Restore carbon to the soil and cut down on your energy bill by planting deciduous trees, which can provide shade for your garden and home.
- Use local, non-chemically treated products to build features like fences, pathways or patios.
- Use natural alternatives to synthetic fertilizers and bug sprays. Visit www.eartheasy.com for information about natural pest control.
- Reduce the size of your lawn or replace it with local grasses that require less upkeep.
- Get the whole family involved. Children who learn about sustainable gardening are more likely to garden this way in the future.
For more information, visit botanist and wildlife biologist Robin Kobaly’s website: www.powerofplants.com.