Sunday, January 11, 2009

THE GARDENER AND GLOBAL WARMING

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!

Plant trees.

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.

7 comments:

  1. Hi!
    Sounds like an interesting class.
    I had fun going down your list to see what I have covered...I was happy to realize I actually had quite a few, minus influencing local politicians naturally!

    Your yard is looking great.
    And congratulations on your "Bassariscus astutus" what a great visitor!

    Regards,
    ESP.

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  2. You left off one water source that no one ever mentions, that can water a lot of plants, the condensation water from the air conditioner.

    My inside unit is up stairs and I brought the drain line out side at ceiling height. I built a shade flower bed under it with a big honey comb rock in the middle that the water splashes off of to water the whole bed. It produces gallons of water a day in the summer. I'll write some thing up on it on my blog this next summer. The cardinal plants in are just stunning.

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  3. ESP-I imagine that quite a number of garden bloggers are doing many things to help the earth. My garden ESP not yard!
    Bob- You are right Bob. Good point. I also do that. I think I might add a photo of my AC runout. At my last house I used to collect it in a bucket. It was amazing how much I could collect. Also I always run the cold water that comes out of the hot water tap into a container.

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  4. What a gorgeous gorgeous lawn! Thanks for mentioning the other nurseries in Austin. I was going to google their names and locations. I'm planning to do my rounds soon, so I can plan my garden and get an early start. Last year I fiddled around and wasted time.

    I'm hoping to take some classes as well on water conservation. I'm also in the process of getting chickens for my backyard (for eggs and compost ;-)

    I've saved your blog to visit again. It's always nice to see other Texas gardeners and what they're up to. I've been learning a lot!

    Helen

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  5. hello lancashire rose and happy new year. thanks for dropping by my blog recently. it's always nice to meet another garden blogger.

    these are all excellent suggestions. I would really like to plant a few trees this year and I am going to give the sprinkler a rest this summer in favour of a drip line. I'm converting some lawn to garden and am looking for native, drought tolerant plants for my dry and shady site. oh, and I really want a rain barrel.

    your garden looks lovely. the sunny pictures have me running to my calendar to count the days until spring. Toronto is about to go into a deep freeze with temperatures going as low as -16 celcius or about 3 degrees fahrenheit. eek! thank goodness for blogs which keep me in virtual gardens all year long.

    cheers
    irena

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  6. Your garden is lovely. I've done most of the the things on your list, mostly in the quest to have a more natural environment.
    Those bumper stickers are out of date now. What inheritance? There's certainly not much left to leave them now, considering what's happened to most everyone's savings!
    Aiyana

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  7. What would you replace some of your lawn with?
    Our present UK government can't decide whether we are going to drown or fry to death. The latest decree is that we are not allowed to have more than 25 square meter of paving or non-absorbant area in our front garden, regardless of its size. To prevent flooding ???

    That is only a 20' x 20' foot area for paths and drive and patio.

    I find that there is an awful lot of hasty and uninformed over-reacting in many respects.

    As regards the air-conditioning water: that is lovely for wiping your face with. Possibly not suitable for plants however, because of absorbed metals.

    We have 10 x 300 Liter water butts. Now we have to prevent mosquitoes breeding. So we need a bacterium in there to stop that. There are so many consequences that we are not yet sure of or familiar with.

    And then of course, with our rain, we still have a year round hosepipe ban, which never got lifted. Even a soaking hose is against the local ordinances.

    It is confusing and bewildering.

    BTW, sorry you had trouble leaving a comment. I will try and find out what is wrong.
    (joco)

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