Good gardening choices make a difference to planet

Gardners share a passion for tending the soil and nurturing plants, and know the rewards this can bring.

An ancient Chinese proverb says, “One who plants a garden, plants joy.”

Another saying that I love is, “Flowers are God’s way of laughing.” There are so many of these, I wish I could put them all in one column!

There is a special spirit within the gardening community.  We are all happy to share our wisdom, experiences, ideas, tools, seeds and plants, and some even make the time to help others with their gardens.    We share a passion for tending the soil and nurturing plants, and we know the rewards it can bring us.

Indeed, what would our world of people be without our farmers, gardeners and landscapers? They collectively ward off famine by providing food for both people and animals; create beautiful urban and rural landscapes around homes, businesses, schools and communities, and also create memorial and dedication gardens.

What would those grand palace and monastery grounds look like without those incredible landscapes surrounding them, and how many weddings have been performed surrounded by lovely gardens? They create habitats for animals, birds, reptiles and insects, and damaged spaces are restored to a healthy state. Gardens are one of the few universal languages among the peoples of the world and they help to erase the religious, cultural and economic lines that can divide us.

Science is starting to catch up with the ancient teachings of our ancestors throughout the world:  that the Earth – known as Gaia in latin  – is a giant living and breathing organism and that the topsoil acts as it’s skin.

We now know more than ever, that we must treat this home of ours with care and respect, and that we must stop soiling our own nest.

Chief Seattle said, “This we know. The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. What befalls the Earth befalls the children of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

It’s interesting that the Bible clearly lays it out for us how to farm and use the land, and it could be so for other religions around the world.

Many things are threatening the well-being of our precious Earth and all the livings creatures that dwell on or within it.  The constant stream of bad and scary news can be incredibly disheartening, discouraging and even hopeless.  But if there was one thing I “got” taking the Organic Master Gardeners course at the Gaia College, it was learning that nature has a powerful toolbox and we tenders of the land can make a huge difference by utilizing the excellent knowledge that’s available to us – both old and new.

Collectively, the gardeners, landscapers, farmers and agriculturists the world-over can help to restore our planet to a healthy and vibrant state by studying nature’s principles; adopting and practising the best organic methods available; stopping the use of poisonous chemicals and fertilizers, which destroy the health of our soil and water, and ultimately weakening the plants and other  precious life forms; learning to manage the water and topsoil in the best and most efficient way possible; stopping those practices that create erosion and soil degradation and increasing the level of soil fertility by using an abundance and variety of organic matter such as fertilizer and mulch. In our own communities,  we can increase the size of our food gardens and support our local  food growers; start using healthy mulches for fertilizer and water preservation; plant more shade trees and create more habitat for our birds and pollinators; write to our government representatives on all levels to create laws that will protect natural spaces and the areas where we live; increase your composting capacity; get rid of all products that have a “cide” at the end of the word and use the Internet and other resources to help solve your garden issues, starting with the question: What is the best organic method for/to…?; encourage and help others to start their own gardens, even if it’s tomato pots on the balcony,  and always share your knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

As we are starting a new garden season in a few short months, I would appreciate some feedback on this garden column by either dropping a note off to the Eagle Valley News office or emailing me at margo_w@telus.net.

Is there anything in particular you’d like to learn about? Do you like the subjects so far and do you find it helpful?

Whatever you’d like to pass along would be great.

This spring I hope to take a food growing course through the Gaia College, so I’ll be able to share so much more with you, which I’m very excited about. This year, create a visual gift to yourself and plant a beautiful garden where you look out your window to give you a lift every time you look at it.