Gardening on the Planet

Gardening with a purpose

This preserve is a few minutes walk from Buffalo's downtown. Fortunately, I live in an area where places like this are cherished.

This preserve is a few minutes walk from Buffalo’s downtown. Fortunately, I live in an area where places like this are cherished.

This phrase appears in many recent industry trend reports, but I don’t quite remember what they mean by it. Here’s what I mean by it. For years now, it’s been abundantly clear that the country (and planet) we all garden on is threatened with wide-ranging environmental peril. We all know this. It is so very, very far from news. But. It now appears that the US government has chosen to be among the few entities that chooses to pretend that this peril is nonexistent, and is proceeding with environmental policies that will dismantle existing protections and inflict further damage.

Just briefly: the new EPA director is a longstanding enemy of the EPA who has sued the agency—many times—and now plans to reduce and eliminate many regulations protecting our water and air. Another member of the new administration is also a longtime fossil fuel executive. And already, executive orders have either been signed or are in the works that make dumping waste into streams easier, enable greenhouse-gas emissions, and otherwise help industrial polluters. It’s not like it’s all going to happen right away, but, given the limited system of check and balances currently in place, it’s hard to see what will stop it.

Enough. So depressing. Rather than bemoan the evils of the present, I’d prefer to contemplate personal action that will help on a local level and  support the nonprofits that will be at the forefront of these battles. That’s what I call gardening with a purpose. As follows:

  • Tree planting. It may not seem like much, but it’s a relatively easy and locally effective way to make the environment that surrounds you a healthier place. We have an ongoing program in my neighborhood for replacing and planting new street trees. We’re able to ensure better diversity of species, too.
  • Support your local preserves, parks, and public gardens. The big preserves and national parklands are in peril from drilling and relaxed regulations. If people show up when they’re threatened, it has an impact—as we’ve seen. There are also memberships and other funding opportunities. Recently, I purchased native plants from a local preserve, which helps them and enhances my garden.
  • Read what my fellow Ranters say about cool ways to design for wildlife, so that it’s actually beneficial and looks good. They know more about this stuff than I do.
  • Show up for biodiversity, wildlife protection, and the environment. Your representatives probably hold town halls; if not, they can be shamed into it, as we’re doing here in Western New York. Don’t let them control/suppress discourse. Direct the conversation.

Many of us have changed our gardening habits dramatically over the past decade or two, which is great, but we may have to take that mindset out into the world now that it looks like we’re in for a jarring setback.

Posted by on February 21, 2017 at 9:34 am, in the category Gardening on the Planet.
Comments are off for this post

9 responses to “Gardening with a purpose”

  1. Rachel says:

    So true.
    ‘Instead of complaining, let’s take action!’On point.
    This topic is relevant and brings awareness to everyone.
    Let’s do our share of saving the environment through gardening.
    Thanks for writing a great post!

  2. Sai Bharath says:

    Great informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Realized years ago, as a professional horticulturist Garden Clubs are time spent singing to the choir for me. I seek speaking venues outside the garden world for my horse/dog show. Women’s conferences, corporate retreats, professional gatherings that have a spousal track.

    Join the local garden club after my move 1.5 years ago? I got appointed to the county planning commission. Land use a bigger game.

    Also began Lunch Ministry years ago. When I come across a youngish kindred spirit, but they don’t realize it about themselves I invite them to lunch at my home/garden. Expect zero in return. Give them a lovely afternoon, including walk in the garden. At the end, I always give them something from the garden.

    With the right kind of client, without their asking I design in a fundraiser type of landscape. A place they can do Party Ministry for showing off their garden while raising money for humane society, botanical garden, whatever. But their guests are being bathed in what a good garden is. What is a good garden? Aside from organic, historically run as they have never stopped doing across Europe.

    Educate a friend from church or blah blah? Nope. Come to LUNCH !!! Also do Egg Ministry with my chickens. Give my beautiful yard eggs to a new friend who likes to cook but doesn’t garden. So many ways to get into new doors.

    And, it’s all fun.

    Garden & Be Well, XOT

  4. Joe Fell says:

    Thank you Elizabeth! I would urge people to join and participate in groups, such as The Friends of Iroquois NWR, The Buffalo Ornithological Society, Buffalo Audubon as well.

  5. Heidi says:

    Great post, thank you!!

  6. Chris Bosacki says:

    Join a garden club. Work together on projects. Go to conferences on sustainability. Join Wild Ones if there’s a chapter near you. Join the Nature Conservancy or the Garden Conservancy. There is strength in numbers.

  7. Sandy Lentz says:

    Definitely work locally. Our town is dealing with a proposed tall building adjacent to a quiet park.

  8. Laura says:

    Thanks for this article. It’s so easy to feel powerless and hopeless in the face of such greed and power, but if many of us band together, our small actions can have a big impact. Keep on planting and be engaged!

  9. Jodie Cook says:

    Bravo! Good points. Act local is one way to go, for sure. And educate your neighbors, co-workers, too, if you can do it without them glazing over.