Tuesday, 29 August 2017

RESTORING NATURE'S BALANCE & BIOSYSTEMS STEP BY STEP

POCKET GARDENS RESTORE NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS
By Margaretta wa Gacheru (margaretta.gacheru@gmail.com)
Pocket gardens have become a kind of clarion call, signally environmentalists and everyone keen to restore a semblance of balance in the biosphere and on behalf of Mother Nature.
According to Mary Stout, chairperson of a North Shore neighborhood gardeners group, the Little Garden Club of Wilmette (Illinois), “Pocket gardens have become part of a national (and even international) environmental movement that is sweeping across the States.
That movement was best seen after the US President Donald Trump declared the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, signed by over 190 countries that committed themselves to reducing toxic carbon emissions in their countries.
Once Trump did that, a slew of US mayors and state governors turned round and reclaimed their community’s commitment to the Paris Pledge. Everyone from the former New York City Mayor Michaael Bloomberg to the Mayor of Pittsburg, Bill Peduto pledged their support for restoring the planet’s biodiversity in contrast to the short sighted view of corporate bosses, including President Trump.
Speaking modestly but with conviction Mrs Stout said pocket gardens can be found springing up all across the country. Her group recommends that people not only establish pocket gardens in window boxes and in pots on patios.
They can also look for neglected or unused patches of land, such as alley ways and begin tending those spaces and planting prairie seeds.
“We’ve been encouraging our members and friends to look at the alleys in their home areas and start planting indigenous plants there,” she said.
“We’ve seen indigenous prairie plants springing up in pocket gardens all over the alleys of the North Shore,” added Charlotte Adelman, co-author of ‘Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees’ with Bernard L. Schwartz.
Now flowers, fruit vines and leafy green vegetables are increasingly beautifying and filling up areas that were once seen as spaces were garbage bins and old cars were stored. They are also areas where homemade compost is used to fertilize those tiny patches, ensuring they produce prairie plants in plenty.
The Little Garden Club advocates creating compost, the organic fertilizer made with food leftovers, including vegetable and fruit skins, stems and stalks as well as biodegradable paper products (no plastics) like toilet rolls. These are all mixed together and left to ferment for several days. After that, the compost gets spread all over one’s pocket garden, thus ensuring the plants grow quickly, nourished by those natural organic nutrients.
Charlotte Adelman has taken the concept of the pocket garden and expanded it to create the half acre Centennial Prairie on derelict land on the west end of her town.
The retired lawyer turned lay ecologist is committed to restoring indigenous grasses, flowers and shrubs that once grew naturally on the Midwestern prairie (where Wilmette is situated).
Reconstructing the prairie’s original habitat means that indigenous plants will attract local bugs which in turn will serve as special foods consumed by the birds and butterflies that once populated the area but disappeared when cement and so-called development destroyed the wildlife’s natural ecosystems.
Charlotte says she began developing her prairie garden in 2015, but she admits it wasn’t originally her idea.
“A young boy scout who wanted to earn his Eagle Scout status approached me and asked if I would help him create a prairie pocket garden which would serve as his Eagle project,” said the co-author of two authoritative books on native plants. The other is the “Prairie Directory of North America.”
“I then got in touch with the city to see if we could use that corner plot. I also contacted the Audubon Society’s Great Lakes office who put me in touch with Daniel Suarez, their Native Plant and Stewardship Expert,” she added.
Daniel was then seconded to Charlotte’s prairie garden project. He advised her on which native plants and seeds could flourish in that specific sandy soil.
Both he and Charlotte shared their experience and expertise with friends of the Little Wilmette Garden Club late last month when the club hosted them for a free tour of Charlotte’s Prairie Garden.
Pointing out everything from Butterfly Weeds, Aromatic Asters and Virginia Bluebells to River Oats, Canadian Wild Ginger and Switch Grass, both Daniel and Charlotte are proud that the prairie plants now flourishing on their garden patch have already begun attracting native bugs and birds as their work has restored a bit of the Midwestern prairie.
The Boy Dcout also received his Eagle scout status from the work that he put in, helping Charlotte to plant and weed the Centennial Prairie.





KET GARDENS RESTORE NATIVE ECOSYSTEMS

By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted September 30th, 2017)

Pocket gardens have become a kind of clarion call, signally environmentalists and everyone keen to restore a semblance of balance in the biosphere and on behalf of Mother Nature.

According to Mary Stout, chairperson of a North Shore neighborhood gardeners group, the Little Garden Club of Wilmette (Illinois), “Pocket gardens have become part of a national (and even international) environmental movement that is sweeping across the States.

That movement was best seen after the US President Donald Trump declared the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, signed by over 190 countries that committed themselves to reducing toxic carbon emissions in their countries.

Once Trump did that, a slew of US mayors and state governors turned round and reclaimed their community’s commitment to the Paris Pledge. Everyone from the former New York City Mayor Michaael Bloomberg to the Mayor of Pittsburg, Bill Peduto pledged their support for restoring the planet’s biodiversity in contrast to the short sighted view of corporate bosses, including President Trump.

Speaking modestly but with conviction Mrs Stout said pocket gardens can be found springing up all across the country. Her group recommends that people not only establish pocket gardens in window boxes and in pots on patios.

They can also look for neglected or unused patches of land, such as alley ways and begin tending those spaces and planting prairie seeds.

“We’ve been encouraging our members and friends to look at the alleys in their home areas and start planting indigenous plants there,” she said.

“We’ve seen indigenous prairie plants springing up in pocket gardens all over the alleys of the North Shore,” added Charlotte Adelman, co-author of ‘Midwestern Native Shrubs and Trees’ with Bernard L. Schwartz.

Now flowers, fruit vines and leafy green vegetables are increasingly beautifying and filling up areas that were once seen as spaces were garbage bins and old cars were stored. They are also areas where homemade compost is used to fertilize those tiny patches, ensuring they produce prairie plants in plenty.

The Little Garden Club advocates creating compost, the organic fertilizer made with food leftovers, including vegetable and fruit skins, stems and stalks as well as biodegradable paper products (no plastics) like toilet rolls. These are all mixed together and left to ferment for several days. After that, the compost gets spread all over one’s pocket garden, thus ensuring the plants grow quickly, nourished by those natural organic nutrients.

Charlotte Adelman has taken the concept of the pocket garden and expanded it to create the half acre Centennial Prairie on derelict land on the west end of her town.

The retired lawyer turned lay ecologist is committed to restoring indigenous grasses, flowers and shrubs that once grew naturally on the Midwestern prairie (where Wilmette is situated).

Reconstructing the prairie’s original habitat means that indigenous plants will attract local bugs which in turn will serve as special foods consumed by the birds and butterflies that once populated the area but disappeared when cement and so-called development destroyed the wildlife’s natural ecosystems.

Charlotte says she began developing her prairie garden in 2015, but she admits it wasn’t originally her idea.

“A young boy scout who wanted to earn his Eagle Scout status approached me and asked if I would help him create a prairie pocket garden which would serve as his Eagle project,” said the co-author of two authoritative books on native plants. The other is the “Prairie Directory of North America.”

“I then got in touch with the city to see if we could use that corner plot. I also contacted the Audubon Society’s Great Lakes office who put me in touch with Daniel Suarez, their Native Plant and Stewardship Expert,” she added.

Daniel was then seconded to Charlotte’s prairie garden project. He advised her on which native plants and seeds could flourish in that specific sandy soil.

Both he and Charlotte shared their experience and expertise with friends of the Little Wilmette Garden Club late last month when the club hosted them for a free tour of Charlotte’s Prairie Garden.

Pointing out everything from Butterfly Weeds, Aromatic Asters and Virginia Bluebells to River Oats, Canadian Wild Ginger and Switch Grass, both Daniel and Charlotte are proud that the prairie plants now flourishing on their garden patch have already begun attracting native bugs and birds as their work has restored a bit of the Midwestern prairie.

The Boy Scout also received his Eagle scout status from the work that he put in, helping Charlotte to plant and weed the Centennial Prairie.










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