I said when we moved here that I was not going to go into “crazy gardener” mode and make a lot of changes. And I suppose in comparison to my previous yard I have kept that vow. I have to plant things; it’s in my blood. However, I am planting less and less and trying to make sure I can sustain what I have. My health and other hobbies have created a better balance in my life than I once had.
My gardening style has changed dramatically too. I use more native plants. I try to use less water and fewer chemicals. Yesterday I looked at one of my hostas and bemoaned the fact that it has numerous holes in its lovely leaves. However, I won’t do anything about it. A few holes aren’t going to harm it and whatever is munching on it may someday become or help support a beautiful creature I want to photograph. I no longer kill things just because they eat my plants. The birds and ladybugs and other critters help with the balance of power in my garden.
I have been discussing such things with my students this month. With Earth Day and the traditional Arbor Day so close together on the calendar it is a good time to talk to them about conserving water, planting trees, and taking care of our environment. Apparently one of my students has been getting the “big picture” from other sources because he loudly announced, “We have to save the Earth or we’re all gonna’ die!” A tough act to follow. But I did manage to keep them calm and tell them they can all be green helpers by turning off the water while they brush their teeth, working in the yard with their parents, and putting all trash where it belongs. We are planting beans today in recycled containers. They will proudly carry them home as soon as they sprout.
April was also the birth month of Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest gardeners of all time. I don’t know why I failed to mention that on his birthday, the 13th. Many of our early leaders were passionate gardeners. They left a legacy of gardens and parks and farms for us to enjoy. It benefits us all to follow in their footsteps and leave as much as we can for the next generations.
I’m not one of those people who has totally gone “green”. I still use paper napkins and I drink some of my water from a plastic bottle. I drive a pickup. I throw out too much trash. But I have changed in little ways. I’m trying to improve. I have become a little wiser and greener with time and experience. Perhaps if we all make a few little changes they will add up to something wonderful…