Posts Tagged 'landscape'

Stop Garden and Landscape Wars

Owen Dell, author of one of the latest in the …for Dummies series, signed his book Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies and presented a corresponding lecture Monday, March 23rd, 2009 at Patagonia, in Ventura, California.
Ron, and I (from RVI) and a friend, went to the lecture presented by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and Owen Dell’s County Landscape and Design.
At the event, Owen invited the attending audience of fifty or so assumed professional landscapers and other interested parties to Wake-Up and become part of the country’s and the world’s “Great Wake-Up”. In part, he said, the Great Wake-Up includes the public’s growing awareness of disturbances to the earth’s ecology and a current surge of interest in local and global environments.
Now, then, is the perfect time, Owen projected, for lay gardeners and landscaping professionals to responsibly join in and realize that their local landscaping and gardening projects belong to a larger biome.
Explaining that landscaping projects should be responsibly governed by sustainable designs that are low impact, make use of native or otherwise apropos species, use local, recycled, biodegradable materials, and mirror the disposition of the local and surrounding ecology, Owen used a slide presentation to list a variety additional sustainable landscaping practices.
The author presented evidence that most landscaping and gardening practices currently consist largely of a warlike relationship between plants and people. Providing examples of state and local landscaping absurdities and the misuse of plants like Algerian Ivy, Trumpet Vine, and Box Junipers, the author disgustingly disapproved of these types of inane and inappropriate uses of species that will either obtrusively invade or outgrow areas or need constant and disfiguring trim-jobs. He explained that planting aggressive species that have “genetic destinies” inappropriate to what the individual really wants “the landscape to do” is all too common and ultimately ends in a waste of space, water, energy, and landscaping costs, i.e., ending in a costly war between you and what otherwise should be a an inviting, calming, restorative and regenerative space.
STOP THE WAR! This anti-landscape-war declaration encapsulated the essence of the author’s message: the natural surrounding environment should be used a palette or as an example. He pointed to its lack of need for subsidization or warlike maintenance and to the fact that everything in a typical section of our local natural surroundings (plants, animals, insects, topography, water, temperatures, detritus, and microbes) has a relationship of usefulness, where there is little to no effluent or waste.
His presentation left obvious questions to those in attendance: Does your landscaping or gardening currently reflect the same naturally wise and economical structure and sustainability that your surrounding natural areas present? And, are you planting, planning, or designing with appropriate species and use of space considering both your local and extended environs as well as your own needs?
Owen suggested responsible and creative landscaping utilizing “aesthetics after function”, but he promised you can get both with a little WAKE-UP, some informed observation, contemplation, and a dedication to Stopping Landscape Wars! Above all he gave all of us the directive to “Do something with this information”.
All the other direction you may need consists in knowing the natural dictates of your local biome, a change in perspective, some collaboration with friends, neighbors, and professionals, and, of course, a look through Owen’s new book. -end- March 09 Duke



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