Sustainable Gardening

Lynda Ellis, Extension Master Gardener in Anoka County

Minnesota Green Roof

Minnesota Green Roof

Sustainable gardening is becoming a buzz word. What does it mean? Why is it important? How can we incorporate its principles in our own yards and gardens?  Let’s explore the topic and answer some questions.

I first was formally introduced to the topic about a year ago, when I attended a course of 5 two-hour generic webinars (classes presented on a computer) on “Landscape for Life: Train the Trainer.”  These webinars were offered by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in cooperation with the U.S. Botanic Garden and the American Society for Landscape Architects.  Their website is: http://landscapeforlife.org/ .

Over 100 students from all around the country and Canada were trained at that time.  At the end of the class I was a Landscape for Life Trainer.  I localized the generic lessons to Anoka County and taught my own 5 two-hour face-to-face classes in May-June 2016 at the Bunker Hills Activities Center in Anoka County.  Registration included classes, homework assignments and access to all lecture material, handouts, and a class website.  Assignments were based on each person’s own home landscape.

What is sustainable gardening?  A sustainable garden maximizes environmental and human health benefits for current and future generations and is financially solvent.

Why is it important for our home landscapes?  Over 50% of the world population, and over 80% in the US and Europe, live in urban areas.  Our interactions with nature and the benefits it provides most often occur in small-scale sites and residential settings.

How can we incorporate its principles in our own yards and gardens?  Each home, and each homeowner, has different needs.  Suggestions include testing soil, composting, creating a rain garden, gardening for wildlife, using native plants, using local or indigenous materials, and reduce, reuse, recycle.  The Landscape for Life classes discuss these topics and more.

After taking the 2016 classes, participants said: Whatever kind of a property you have, you learn at least one thing to do to improve it.  Your landscape is always evolving. There is a native plant to replace any non-native invasive.  Opened my eyes to new ideas.  Good lists of resources.  Lots of things to think about.

My next Landscape for Life, Sustainable Gardening course will be held starting May 17, 2017, limited to 20 students.  Class registration fee is $20.00.  Registration will open soon; call 763-755-1280.  Join us if you can.