Ministry of Controversy

My first PowerPoint talk went GREAT, until…

Dear Ed,

Having just returned home from Susan’s Sustainable Gardening presentation, I wish to pass along some feedback.

I respect Susan’s gardening knowledge, and appreciate her efforts for the landscaping world, but I was
disappointed in the presentation – primarily because I feel the subject matter was misrepresented. “Sustainable” as she pointed out, is a hot topic these days – but I feel that that fact has been exploited in this case.  Given the subject matter, I believe the topic would have been more accurately called “the
self-sustaining garden”.

"Sustainable” is most commonly understood to mean that it sustains something – sustains insects, sustains
wildlife, sustains humans (other than their aesthetic which she referred to).  I think my understanding was mirrored by others in the audience given that a number of the questions had to do with permaculture and native plants.

If you have not already seen it, I refer you both to Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home, as a persuasive argument for using native plants and why
they are so essential for sustaining wildlife.  I do not think the Spireas, Acubas, cherry laurels, Nandinas etc, that Susan was recommending, would do much toward this end.

My apologies for not having something more positive to say – I do not like being the negative voice – but I
feel that the DC Urban Gardeners have a responsibility to educate well and accurately and that goal was not met in this case.

Having just seen Susan’s web site, I guess I am indirectly taking issue with more than her presentation – her
identity seems to be deeply connected with what I refer to as misrepresentation of an important environmental term.

I am ccing Susan.  Susan, if you wish to speak further of this, I would be willing to meet with you – I do not mean any disrespect. I am sure that your overall gardening knowledge far surpasses mine, but “sustainable” is something that I do know a little about and is what drew me to go inside on this sparkling Saturday in the hopes of learning something new.   I am sorry for us both that I was disappointed.

Elizabeth Knox

7108 Holly Ave.
Takoma Park, MD 20912

Posted by on May 19, 2008 at 6:23 pm, in the category Ministry of Controversy.
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