Archive for December, 2008

Maybe Its Time For A Kitchen Garden?

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Holidays and Gardens

I’ve been reading through some stories of Christmas and the depression today to jumpstart some thoughts for this week’s column. Very consistently, folks who had property grew vegetables and fruits if they could. My staff has been saying for months that in Pelham there are very few folks who grow food in their gardens and that now might be a good time to be planting kitchen gardens, and maybe they are right! During the depression, anyone with property was growing something. Food  and money were in demand, paying work was hard to find, and people had to eat.

Reading some of the accounts of the holidays during the great depression, there is a lot of food for thought. Consistently, there were Christmases where kids got an orange and a maybe a banana or some walnuts in their stockings. Some folks recall getting clothes. One farmer remembers getting a few cut evergreen boughs from his neighbor and that was his tree.

Just about anyone who is old enough to remember the depression also recalls that the holidays were never really about things, but getting together with their family. It was never really about things because there just were not a lot of things to be had. Everyone cooked a little more, usually chicken, ate a little more, and spent time as a family. It was about the feeling behind the event, not the things that were the vehicle of expression. Gratefully, we are nowhere near the circumstances of the depression, most of us will have more than an orange for our kids this Christmas and our tables will be abundant despite our concerns regarding years to come.  Happy Holidays.

Sustainable Design?

Monday, December 15th, 2008

In our eco landcare blog, we wrote about Las Vegas, Nevada. If one were to design a native garden in  Las Vegas, it would be made up of cactii, aloe, and tumbleweed. Maybe some yucca rostrata…ITS A DESERT. Not a lot of room for landscape design in that model. More important, would people live with that?

its a really tough question when you consider it, real harmony with the environment in Las Vegas would be the opposite of what you actually find there, a community built on Colorado river water. Real sustainable practice might prohibit that, and at the same time, it is the innovative nature of this particular phase of human culture that makes Las Vegas possible. All the moral issues of the economic base of las Vegas aside, as a city, it is a pretty amazing accomlishment. Is it sustainable? Not without a huge amount of human effort. is anything we as human beings endeavor to do?

  That said, Even las Vegas, or maybe we should say, especially las Vegas, is making strides in sustainable landscaping and creating room for landscape design that is more eco-friendly by reducing lawns, paying residents to install xeri-scape gardens and drip irrigaiton. Are these really sustainable in a desert? no but much more so than what they had. 

Sustainable Sites

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Ideas For Lower Maintenance, Eco Friendly Landscaping

Cold weather is here in the Northeast. This is the time to get up to speed on better ways to plan and do. In terms of garden design, i highly recommend going to the www.sustainablesites.org to catch up on sustainabale practices as envisioned by the ASLA, Ladybird Johnson Wildlife Center, and the United States Botanical Gardens.

These three groups are pioneering a standard for landscape design and care that will eventually be incorporated into the LEED system of the USBC. The comment period on the initiative recommendations ends January 20th so get on now while you can or just pick osme brains.

The case studies are the best part and a great tool for convincing the ambivalent eco-landscaper of the value of sustainable practices!