Every day we talk about climate change, using less energy, recycling, ditching the use of single use water bottles, eating organic … the list goes on and on. As a gardener I know there are many things I can do to make an impact on the general health of my community as well as the betterment of everyone who comes in contact with the spaces I garden. And what if we each used our landscapes as way to improve the health and wellbeing of our environment? Well, that would be huge. Consider this:
Plant Shade Trees
Not everyone has the room or ability to plant trees. Downtown living is great, but a dense tree canopy is not part of that lifestyle. Those residing in apartment buildings and multifamily homes most likely can’t plant trees. If you have a yard, add large shade trees. Not only will you be providing invaluable resources for native insects and pollinators, you will reduce your home’s energy bills and give those who live in the more densely populated areas of town, cool, tree-lined streets on which to walk.
As much as you can, and you may be surprised how easy it is, ditch the chemicals. Opt for nontoxic methods to control weeds and enhance the fertility of your landscape. The less toxic your landscape, the more inviting it will be to nature: like songbirds.
Add Pollinator Plants
In your existing garden, add plants that are nectar and host plants, wait till spring to cut back plants, and leave a bit of exposed soil for our ground nesting native bees. Your little slice of the neighborhood, coupled with a street of likeminded homeowners, creates an area that is teeming with life.
Remove One Area of Sod
I’m not one to demonize the lawn. But what if we all took one area of the lawn and added a planting of native grasses? Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem and Sideoats Grama grasses are tidy, easy to care for, look great year-round, and are critical to the survival on many native moths.