Leverage the coincidence that the reawakening of your garden occurs during the month in which Earth Day falls. Typically when we make decisions regarding our therapeutic landscape gardens we weigh the impact on the people we serve; we also have the unique opportunity to positively impact the environment, in a way that involves our core mission of providing support and engagement to those we provide care for.
As you plan your spring garden, implement these three changes:
- Create a bee-friendly garden. Doing so attracts bees, which are crucial pollinators of up to one-third of the food that people eat. Plant flowering fruits (strawberries), flowering vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini) and single-petal flowers (Black-Eyed Susans or Queen Ann’s Lace) that make it easier for bees to feed. Keep dishes of water filled for our fuzzy friends to rehydrate, and plant ground cover (coleus) in which they can rest in between feedings. Avoid pesticides which kill these tiny pollinators.
- Begin to compost. Minimize the amount of waste you send to landfills by setting aside and repurposing organic matter. This also reduces your contribution to global warming, as organic material placed in landfills is deprived of oxygen to break down, and instead creates methane gas. Making nutrient-rich soil conditioner from your kitchen and garden scraps will enhance your soil, strengthening your plants, and is simple to start. Place easily accessible compost bins in your kitchens and gardens, to encourage their everyday use. We have found that covered containers that are emptied regularly are the best way to nudge a shift in culture toward the adoption of the practice of composting.
- Reduce, refuse, reuse, recycle, remove plastic. The Earth Day Network’s focus for 2018 is to change people’s attitudes and behaviors regarding use of plastic. Analyze every choice to use plastic when planning or maintaining your garden and make a conscious decision to reduce and refuse plastic when you can. When using plastic, educate older adults on today’s recycling practices. Even many seasoned recyclers are not aware that plastic mulch bags and plastic containers that hold flats of flowers are recyclable.
Beginning to implement these three changes this month will help the environment, and also strengthen your gardeners’ and visitors’ feeling of community and sense of purpose and place in this world.