Many of us ask ourselves this question at different points in our lives. But when, I ask myself, did I become passionate about plants? And at what point did that passion morph into a love affair with Nature and the environment?
I am passionate about plants. It started as a hobby, planting a few things here and there, keeping more and more house plants and then soon realizing that my happiest moments were outside, gardening. All this as I held a demanding full time job in retail management. And all of it in a span of thirty some years. So when I retired, eight years ago, I enrolled in a Master Gardeners program. I felt I wanted more, so I continued and earned a Certification in Horticulture and Landscape Design. I started my blog in April of 2009. I have posted close to ninety six blogs on all different subjects.
As to the Why I am here: The more I garden and write, the more I have come to realize that, as a gardener, I have also a duty, a responsibility to be mindful of the environment and of all the creatures that make this patch of land their home. I come across them all the time, toads and frogs, garter snakes, salamanders under rocks and a myriad of insects and birds that call my garden home. I have come to realize that my actions in the landscape affect their survival and the future of their progeny. It has become my mission to create a integrated pest control system in my landscape that nurtures not just the plants, but also all the creatures that are part of that habitat. It is also my duty to share all I have learned with those who are seeking the knowledge.
“We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Hard to believe the entire summer has gone by and I am in the process of putting the garden to bed for the year. But as I cut down perennials, dig up my cannas and harvest the rest of the vegetables, I am already planning next year’s garden. Top on the list of priorities is improving sustainability and enlarging all my planting beds to provide better habitat for all wild creatures that rely on the environment I have created to survive and multiply. Every plant contributes to that particular habitat. Every product I choose to apply affects the well being of a multitude of insects, birds and small mammals.
For my reading group this year, I choose “The Faraway Nearby” by Rebecca Solnit. A new author for me, her writing gave me pause with the depth of her observations and beautifully crafted prose. She writes:
“Some things are so big you don’t see them, or you don’t want to think about them, or you almost can’t think about them. Climate change is one of those things. It’s impossible to see the whole, because it’s everything. It’s not just a seven-story-tall black wave about to engulf your town, it’s a complete system thrashing out of control, so that it threatens to become too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too wild, too destructive, too erratic for many plants and animals that depend on reliable annual cycles. It affects the entire surface of the Earth and every living thing, from the highest peaks to the depths of the oceans, from one pole to the other, from the tropics to the tundra, likely for millennia — and it’s not just coming like that wave, it’s already here.”
Just like climate change, loss of habitat is another serious threat to life in our planet. In a small but highly significant scale, we can promote biodiversity in our gardens by enlarging plantings, widening our beds to create more wildlife corridors and being mindful of keeping organic practices. Studies have shown that corridors for wildlife improve their odds of survival by providing safer areas to travel – away from roads – in search of mates, food and shelter.
“No matter how intently one studies the hundred little dramas of the woods and meadows, one can never learn all the salient facts about any one of them.”
― Aldo Leopold –