Engineering Sustainable Change
By: Sherri Cornelius
It’s almost spring, so I’m starting to think about some of the reasons spring is my favorite season – purple Pasque Flowers pushing their way up through the snow, the sweet wafting fragrance of plum and cherry blossoms, and the promise of a new year in the garden to try out new plants and techniques.
Being in the garden – smelling the dirt, planting seeds and seedlings, adding compost to the bed, even pulling weeds – brightens my mood and inspires me, making me feel more connected to the earth and my natural surroundings!
As this spring starts, are you looking for a fun way to help the environment? Whether you’ve never grown a garden before, or if you’d like to garden in a way that’s better for the earth, why not explore the world of sustainable gardening?
What is sustainable gardening anyway?
Sustainable gardening is about making choices that preserve and protect the earth’s resources while minimizing the impact on the earth. You can make your garden more sustainable by incorporating:
Why should I try sustainable gardening?
Sustainable gardening benefits include:
Sustainable gardening can help you lower costs because:
Plus, there are many health benefits associated with gardening:
A pastime that can be shared with family members, sustainable gardening introduces children to new science concepts and helps them develop a love of nature; and, the elderly can benefit from stretching and exercise, engagement and sense of purpose, and a dose of Vitamin D (in only 20 minutes). Gardening is even used as therapy in Alzheimer’s units, having a positive effect on patients’ mood, cognition, and ability to relax.
Great. How do I get started?
Plant your seeds
Now you’re ready for one of the best parts – planting your seeds or seedlings into the ground. Wherever you live, look for native plants, as they have adapted to the temperature, water availability, soil type, and insects in your area. Native plants are hearty, require limited care and watering, and help perpetuate a healthy environment by: providing food and shelter to local wildlife, supplying native seeds that will spread to natural areas, and requiring no chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
If you’re near me in Fort Collins, CO, a few native flowers to consider growing are Pony Beebalm, Dotted Blazing Star, Blanket Flower, or Sidebells Penstemon. You can also add native grasses, like Prairie Dropseed or Little Bluestem, to your landscape plan. And Saskatoon Serviceberry and Black Common Chokecherry are a couple of nice native shrubs that will attract wildlife and provide them shelter. Check out this great resource for selecting native plants published by the Colorado Native Plant Society.
Aaaaah, spring. I’m ready to get out in the garden and find out what I can learn about nature this year! I hope you are too!
About the Author – Sherri brings more than 20 years of administrative experience to Brendle Group. She has worked in a variety of capacities including consulting, not-for-profit, education, and corporate settings, where her responsibilities entailed event and meeting planning, grant writing, internal and external communication, and program coordination.
At Brendle Group, Sherri helps keep our operations running smoothly and supports our staff by coordinating administrative duties in the areas of recruitment and human resources, event and meeting planning, travel and scheduling, and facility operations. She can also be found assisting on projects in the form of coordinating between clients, project managers, and other stakeholders and supporting the development of reports, presentations, agendas, letters, and much more.