I have to admit that when I woke up on Saturday morning to a big chill over the Austin area I was rather glad. It meant I didn't have to miss a day spent out in the garden. I had signed up for a class at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, "Gardeners and Global Warming". This was an introductory class aimed at educating gardeners about the impact of global warming and how they can take action to limit those impacts.
The class was a joint presentation by Alice Nance, Conservation Program Coordinator, of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Andrea Dravigne, Regional Education Manager for the Gulf States, National Wildlife Federation and Go Native U. ( University of Texas)
When I saw the words "Embrace conservation and reduce waste" I couldn't help but think of May Dreams and her multitude of Embrace postings. Apologies if you already did one Carol! Over the two hour class we listened,got together in groups and offered our observations on possible effects of global warming in our own gardens. Have you noticed any changes? Here is a sampling of some of the things we can do to help in the effort to limit global warming.
Start a compost pile for kitchen and garden waste.
Conserve water. Replace water thirsty exotic plants with native plants.
Remove invasive plants.
Develop a rain garden. This is just one of the many web sites with information on developing a rain garden.
Our sunken garden is a more unusual form of rain garden, being completely surrounded by ledgestones. Rainwater drains into the area and is absorbed through the spaces between the flagstones.
Replace as much of your lawn as possible. Not only will this reduce your watering bill but will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced in the treatment of water and gasoline emissions from mowing. If your neighborhood demands a lawn then use a push mower!
Encourage local garden retailers to stock native plants.
Ask elected officials to eliminate weed laws. I have to admit I had to ask what weed laws were and the response was, the practice of mowing the edges and center strips of the road. How I despaired when they mowed down all the Maximillian sunflowers, Helianthus maximilianii, that used to grow along Southwest Parkway.
Use drip irrigation.
Replace landscape lighting with solar systems and outdoor lighting fixtures with fluorescent bulbs.
Raise awareness of climate change at the local level.
Ask your Member of Congress to support global warming legislation.
We've all seen those bumper stickers that say we are spending our children's inheritance. Well it's no joke. We are. Our children inherit the earth from us.