Grab Bag

Green Gardener Guides Go to…

When Joe Lamp'l told us why he wrote his Green Gardener's Guide and offered a freebie to someone who needs it, you all nominated yourselves or your clueless neighbors, and I randomly chose JEN from that bunch.  We hope she'll read it and then carry the message by sticking it in a neighbor's mailbox.

But you guys  had some things to say about whether the average homeowner could ever be reached with this message and if so, how.  So a book also goes to GINNY STIBOLT, because she offered to take it on the road with her when she tours to promote Sustainable Gardening for Florida.  And another copy goes to FOY somewhere in rural Panama, who'll donate it to the Peace Corps library there.  (We have Foy's address, so just need for Ginny and Jen to send their mailing addresses to SusanATSustainable-GardeningDOTcom.)

But how CAN the message get through to nongardening homeowners?  Besides putting Joe himself on the road to talk to every civic group in the world, that is.

Posted by on February 14, 2009 at 10:47 am, in the category Grab Bag.
Comments are off for this post

11 Responses to “Green Gardener Guides Go to…”

  1. Susan,

    I’ll take photos and send them to you as I tour our fair state. Speading the word is an important part of our “green” movement. Having Joe’s book will help make the case that I’m not ranting alone…

    Thanks so much!

  2. JT says:

    Throughout my intermediate and high school days, I saved my brown paper lunch bag and reused it day after day as long as it would last. No, I didn’t imagine this act of conservation would save the planet (that Carlin routine really got to me, though!) but it seemed wrong to waste. It seems wrong to foul the soil, air and water too. Why do people not see these things, I dunno.

  3. Folks like Joe are not just preaching to the choir – the word is getting out. My newspaper has a regular column on gardening with natives and has also done articles on sheet mulching and lawn alternatives. Local garden clubs, nurseries and botanical gardens are all featuring speakers on sustainability. And I know from reading garden blogs all over the country that while not every community is as concerned with water conservation as we are in California, most are looking at ways to keep stormwater on site and reduce the use of chemicals and greenwaste.

    I just got home from a consultation with a client whose garden I designed five years ago. How did we spend our time? Sketching out a plan to reduce her lawn by 50%.

  4. Elizabeth Stump says:

    I say every reporter reporting on environment/utilities and in areas with a drought, send a 5-point bullets message that reporters should incorporate into their stories. Lamp’l publicist should contact every major paper and Reuters/AP writers and put Joe up as a reference for upcoming stories about drought, environmentalism, and such. Every time Joe is used as a reference for a story, he can put for at least one key message. Eventually, his message will percolate into the consciousness of the public and people will start getting the idea. Do you think 30 years ago people would make a conscious effort to sort/separate their garbage? Now it’s a matter of course we do without a second thought. It takes time to make these ideas part of our daily habits.

  5. Karen says:

    These are some great ideas. I also vote for doing as much of your gardening in the public eye as your personality can allow. I.e. garden on the street where neighbors can notice and perhaps emulate what you’re up to, ask questions, learn how to garden more sustainably by your example. Good ideas can spread naturally sometimes. Also, cities can provide rebates for purchases of “greener” gardening tools like electric or push lawnmowers, compost bins, etc. Seattle has done this and I think it’s been a very successful program (as far as I know).

  6. Joe Lamp'l says:

    Already some great ideas here. Karen, this spring I plan on doing your very suggestion by creating a a beautiful, sustainable front yard garden with a small sign along the street to let everyone that walks by, know my yard is chemical-free and sustainable. We know through research, that most consumers obtain their gardening information “over the fence” from their neighbors and friends. All the more reason to walk our talk, right in our street side gardens. I’ll plant tomatoes and other edibles by the road and invite visitors to enjoy them since they are safe to eat on the spot! I’ll invite them to see my rain barrels and ask why I installed a gravel driveway. Perhaps an information sheet to explain…

    Elizabeth, great idea! It is a process and it’s good to be reminded that it takes more time than I want it to. You’ve provided a good message for making the case to make the most of every opportunity I have on the road when preaching the gospel of ‘green gardening’.

    I am on the Trends Committee for the Garden Writers Assoc. We draft the questions to send out to the public to determine their attitudes on various gardening issues. Recently we completed our survey around sustainable gardening.

    Sadly we know we have many obstacles yet to hurdle. Such as: about 30% of those who know about eco-friendly practices have NO intention of changing their ways. The other challenges include changing mindsets to understand that natural products don’t work “exactly” like synthetics. But consumers want them to. They have the impression that sustainable products cost a lot more and many aren’t willing to pay any more for them.

    Next, we know that consumers are still very confused on what to buy, even when they want to start easing into using products that are more environmentally responsible.

    Finally, 25% of consumers that are ready to make the switch can’t find what they’re looking for when they go to buy them. Either the products aren’t being sold or they’re not easy to find or identify.

    Overall, I hope this mass confusion will subside with persistent education at every level IF we can deliver consistent, accurate information and set realistic expectations for consumers on how using sustainable products and methods work (and especially how they’re different). Better information going in leads to less disappointment from false expectations and ultimately greater acceptance over time. That’s my two cents. Thanks Susan for raising a great question.

  7. Tara Dillard says:

    Susan, perfect question. Joe, and all of us in the profession, must seek venues catering to non-gardeners. Through lecturing and writing. Where?

    HOA’s, PTA’s, corporate lunch-learn, interior decorating seminars, women’s wellness symposiums & more (marketing person, help please).

    Seeking non-gardeners has been a mission (hunger) for years.

    Landscape sustainably is easy, cheap & low maintenance. It raises property value and saves on heating-cooling costs.

    When I speak at large venues I give the organizers names for future speakers.

    Related but different are the social networking sites. Facebook is ideal for garden clubs. They can post decades worth of scrapbooks, form open-closed groups, post speaker powerpoints & hand-outs, post links to events & articles. Announcements can be sent automatically.

    A local garden club on Facebook can link to nearby HOA’s & PTA’s & etc.

    We should encourage people we know in the profession to begin blogging and Facebook if they aren’t.

    So far this year I’ve encouraged an Extension Service agent and a nursery owner to begin blogging and Facebook. Their knowledge is precious.

    What else? Would appreciate more ideas for non-gardening venues to write and lecture.
    Garden & Be Well XO Tara

  8. Elizabeth Stump says:

    How about reaching out to Facility Managers. Think about all those corporate parks dumping oodles of chemicals on their strips of green lawns and watering on timers set to go off even during rainstorms? There are facility manager conferences and publications. If you can get corporate america to jump on the band wagon, it won’t be a panacea, but it will cut down on bad watering practices and chemical overload on areas we normally wouldn’t think of. Someone needs to reach out to all these management companies contract with corporate run landscape maintenance firms.

  9. Tara Dillard says:

    Thank you Elizabeth. Never would I have thought of your idea.

    It will take a couple of calls, at most, but I know I can begin following thru.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  10. Foy says:

    I’m so excited to receive The Green Gardener’s Guide! I just emailed the Country Director of Panama to tell him to be on the look out for the book.

    In Panama many of the farmers have over used chemicals and so reduced the nutrients in their soil, they do not know how to function with out them. With the rising prices in petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides the campisinos can no longer afford to live like this.

    One of the goals of Peace Corps Panama is to work with home and school gardens to demonstrate sustainable garden techniques that improve soil fertility. With your book we can look for new ways to garden green.

    Thank you,
    Foy

  11. Joe Lamp'l says:

    Foy, this is a great example of EXACTLY where I hope my book will help to educate people like you mention of a more sustainable way. Thank you for sharing this specific and real-life application.

  • Follow Garden Rant

    Follow Me on Pinterest RSS