How to Contribute to a Healthier Environment through Gardening
NGA, the National American Gardening Association send an encouraging message during National Gardening Month to anyone to garden wherever they live, in an environmentally friendly way.
No matter of the garden’s size it is a part of the environment. Our back or front yard small gardens, container gardens or community gardens may seem insignificant on the larger scale, but actually they have a strong impact on the environment. Imagine the dramatic effect of each of the 82 million gardening households if they followed environmentally responsible lawn care and landscaping practices. By correctly watering and fertilizing, growing well-adapted plants, proper pruning and mowing, judicious use of pesticides, avoidance of invasive plants, eco-friendly garden clearance, and wildlife habitats preservation there would be a dramatic overall effect on the environment.
The 2004 Environmental Lawn & Garden Survey, conducted by NGA shows that over 19 million domestic gardeners plan to or already are following gardening techniques, that are environmentally responsible. NGAs attempt to help them with that and to encourage more gardeners to follow their example consists in the implementation of environmental lawn and garden practices list for all citizens to follow.
Environmental Lawn and Garden Practices
The current state of US environmentally responsible gardeners is outlined by Environmental Lawn and Garden Scorecard, created by NGA. 2000 gardeners participated in a survey about how often do they follow the recommended in the report 12 environmentally responsible practices.
The results, unfortunately, show that we are only at the beginning of the road to be taken. Bruce Butterfield, NGA's Research Director reports, "A majority of U.S. households followed only 3 out of 12 recommended environmentally friendly lawn and garden practices. Less than half of all households followed the remaining 9 simple environmentally friendly practices."
The Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey responses show that:
- 67% add aesthetic value to their homes and boroughs by keeping their yards clean, safe, and well maintained;
- 65% try to use water wisely by watering the plants and lawn only when needed;
- 53% are prudent when using pesticides and fertilizers and follow the label indications;
- 45% prefer to leave in place on the loan the grass clippings;
- 43% are careful to keep away from water sources and the pavement pesticides, fertilizers, and yard and pet waste;
- 42% choose to grow plants, that are right for the climate spot, the soil, the quantity of rainfall and the sun/shade circumstances;
- 42% have the practice to apply mulch around shrubs, trees, or garden areas;
- 39% choose the highest recommended mower setting to cut their lawn;
- 32% make a research to identify the lawn and garden problems, for control methods, in order to avoid using insect or weed pesticides
- 28% compost leaves, grass clippings and other organic waste;
- 26% gather information about the best care possible for their specific plants, lawns and the wildlife;
- 25% in their landscaping use only native or well-adapted plants remove invasive, exotic or poorly adapted plants.
The environmental health could be improved with a bit of an effort from all of us.
Choose Well-Adapted Plants
The first step is to choose the right plants for your garden. Gorgeous, low-maintenance plants fitting the landscape are the dream of every gardener. The perennials, trees and shrubs best adapted to the soil, pest population and weather conditions are the obvious choice. It is expected, that they will survive all the vagaries of the seasons. You may find in arboretums and public gardens examples for those plants.
Say No to the Invasive Plants
Avoidance of invasive plants is the other best advice. The globalism lead to exotic plant species being spread across easily. Because the plants haven’t evolved in the new places they have been brought to there are little or no natural enemies to them, so they are able to grow and spread aggressively. That way native plants are being crowded out.
What You Can Do
Eventually it is up to the neighbourhood and you. By taking the initiative in following the 12 environmentally responsible lawn and garden practices you will have a positive impact and hopefully inspire others to do so, too. When showing environmental responsibility you’re not only investing in the planet’s future, but in your family’s.
The lack of a personal backyard or garden does not mean there is nothing you can do - start participating in the care for public green spaces. That is a great way to socialize as well. For those, eager to make a difference public green spaces offer courses and the volunteer opportunities.