Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - BECOMING MORE IN SYNC WITH NATURE


Have you heard of the word BIODIVERSITY?  Biodiversity is defined as the variety of different type of life found on Earth.  As humans we need to learn the importance of sharing our living and work space with other living species such as animals, insects, etc.  Take a minute and re-read this paragraph again and give it some deep thought because I, personally, see biodiversity having an increase affect on how we landscape our property in the very near future.
                I have been in the horticultural business for a long time.  I have seen different gardening trends come and go over the years.  But, I have never experienced such a gardening trend that has struck home as biodiversity has done to me.  Donna and I have lived in our suburban home for nearly 30 years and I have slowly transformed the landscape to be more nature friendly.  In addition, I sense the pendulum swinging with customers toward using more environmentally friendly products.   Customers are becoming more conscientious and more knowledgeable about alternative fertilizers and chemicals.  Organic products are becoming more popular.  More friendly insecticides and herbicides are becoming more popular with homeowners.  I love this trend and I don’t see it coming to an end.
                Biodiversity is all about connecting with nature.  It is about the newfound appreciation for both earth’s precious resources and the love of nature.  People are becoming more aware of the consequences of their actions in garden.  What I can see trending is people wanting to cut back on high maintenance gardening that requires a lot of watering, fertilizing, and way too many chemicals.
                Here is what I have done over the years with my small ½ acre plot of land in order to become more connected with nature:
  1.  I have let my wooded back yard become naturalized.  I have stopped trying to grow grass and have allowed the moss to take over.  This has been a 5 year process but I love it!!!! 
  2. I created a small vegetable garden in the front of my house.  It is totally organic and I do not use any chemicals.
  3. Over the years I have planted many flowering perennials that are native to Virginia, such as Virginia Bluebells.  My various flowering perennials attract many birds, bee, and beneficial insects.
  4. This past year I planted many plants to help save our bees.  In my gardens I had lavender, sage, thyme, cleome, zinnias, marigolds, etc. – all in an attempt to support our birds and bees.
  5. This past fall I reduced to amount of lawn by increasing the size of my gardens.  It now takes me 10 minutes to mow my lawn.  Now I will be spending less money and using less fertilizers and chemicals to maintain my lawn.
  6. Over the years I have used tree branches, leaf compost, etc. and have created some natural habitats for wildlife in my backyard.
My challenge to you is just to start thinking on how you can start becoming more connected with nature with your landscape.  Start on a small space to convert.  You can plant more flowering perennials and annuals this spring that are beneficial to bees, butterflies, and birds.  And let yourself enjoy your creation knowing that you are beginning to connect with nature and  doing your part to protect your own environment.  Then, let this “bug” get to you and start thinking of all the ways that you can re-connect with nature and start using less water, fertilizers, and chemicals in your landscape. 
Posted: 1/13/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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