Monday, October 15, 2007 | | editorial, what's blooming
Blog Action Day and Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day are two for one subjects for my post today. Read on for Action and click on for bigger images and names of what’s in bloom (I don’t think the subjects are unrelated!)
Nearly 16,000 voices are speaking on blogs all over the world wide interweb today on the subject of the environment. The parameters are pretty broad – we’re asked to publish a post about the environment in any way that relates to our usual topic in order to begin a global conversation. There are so many relevant environmental issues to gardening – where to begin? Where to end?!
I think it might begin and end with stewardship. When I first heard about Blog Action Day, I immediately thought of the couple in Cranston, RI who wrote an inspiring letter last year to Blithewold’s director of horticulture. They are concerned about climate change and took the call to plant trees for carbon sequestration seriously. When they ran out of room in their own garden, they decided to plant (so far, about a dozen) trees at Blithewold because, in their words “Blithewold is guided by a vision of stewardship wherein trees are welcomed, valued, nurtured.” Planting trees at the equator is immensely important but it’s also important, like the bumpersticker says, to think globally and act locally.
Gardeners (like mountain climbers and deep sea divers) are intimately involved with the Earth’s crust and in a unique position to pay attention and take care of our own little patch. We can exploit the Earth or we can leave no trace. We can (pretend to) have dominion over all living things or we can share the caretaking responsibilities with fellow critters like bacteria, worms, bees, spiders…
Blithewold is a 33 acre patch of planet Earth with lawns, trees and flowering gardens. We cannot call ourselves an organic garden although we try to make careful choices and weigh the visitors’ experience with our personal tolerances of garden chemistry. Thinking globally, it’s come to the point where sacrifices have to be made locally. Gail and I refuse to treat the Rose Garden with pesticides and non-organic fertilizers. As a result of that choice the roses decline from blackspot and beetle infestation and the visitors’ midsummer enjoyment of that garden is diminished. This year we interplanted the roses with shrubs and flowering annuals. The roses didn’t look any better but the garden as a whole did and visitors raved.
We know when we’re doing it right. Any garden full of bees, birds, mantises, worms and butterflies is bound to be balanced and healthy. These creatures are the world’s canaries in the coal mine and rather than wait to be alarmed by global colony collapse, gardeners can be (and even have an obligation to be) mindful and preemptively careful.
I love paying attention and being in tune with a patch (especially this particular patch) of the planet and participating in the care of it. I think what I do locally does make a difference globally and I pledge to continue my daily education in how to be a better gardener and earth steward. — Who’s with me?!