I subscribe to some of their magazines. They are ok, very practical “how to” things (how to install a door etc). But the Gardening Green Issue was great. It was everything I expect from a green magazine.
The letter from the editor was a full disclosure that she was no expert in green gardening, and in fact her taste for exotic plants might be points against her.
But she pointed out that her common sense and life experience actually had a lot of green habits, and for me that is all it takes. Green is common sense if you have a holistic view of life.
The magazine then went on page after page of useful information on green gardening. The basic premise of green gardening is to let nature do it’s thing: how much watering, chemicals and upkeep does it take to keep, say, a rain forest? Dump question. The answer is none. Nature does just fine growing glorious gardens by itself.
So why do human made gardens require such work? Because they aren’t green.
Basically if you create the right ingredients your green garden will be a luxurious garden of Eden. The trick is to be the wise custodian instead of the arrogant despot.
A wise custodian knows what is best for you and creates a perfect environment for you to be yourself. The arrogant despot thinks their opinion is best and forces it on you regardless of what you need.
Traditionally the normal American garden is run by a despot. How would you like somebody deciding when you need to cut your hair? But we think it is fine to do that to our plants. And we take it for granted when the plants don’t have the strength to fight off pests. We simply throw on chemicals.
If you “design” the garden right the pests will be there but they won’t take over the garden. They will occupy their proper place, in balance.
That is really the trick with a green garden and life in general: balance. The perfect green garden has a harmonious balance between the many elements. And many there are. A green garden, like any wild prairie or forest, is abundant with variety.
In nature even what appears to be a field of one plant is full of hundreds of other plants and animals. It creates an ecosystem that keeps any one element from taking over and ultimately killing itself through lack of support (hmmm…. sounds like what humans are doing to the planet….).
I’ll let you read it but the magazine talks about the value of bees and how to plant so you attract them. It outlines the process of “going native” where you take a Frankenstein turf garden and let it blossom into a true garden. It talks about how to make an edible garden that is also beautiful in the traditional sense of a garden. It gives advice on how to control possibly over destructive pests (Cayenne pepper spray anyone?)
I read the magazine mesmerized because the information was so useful in helping me make the green garden in Brooklyn’s Green Show House and to help move along Eco Brooklyn’s Green Gardening Company. Brooklyn brownstones all have a garden perfect for a greening. The sun, earth and shade are all there. There is abundant rain.
There are issues with chemical remediation though. Lead paint from Brooklyn fire escapes, asbestos from siding, arsenic from treated fences, heavy metals from car exhausts and oil contaminants from car oil are some issues that can be hiding in a Brooklyn back yard.
But these things can be tested affordably and remediated naturally by planting certain plants and mushrooms and removing soil.
Brooklyn’s green garden can be an abundant fruit giving nature sanctuary without any upkeep and water. The trick is to pick local plants, and lots of them, then plant them in a micro climate that they like. If one plant does not do well then move it to another part of the garden or simply let it die like it would in nature.
Making a green garden in Brooklyn can be a very liberating experience. With time the garden will find it’s own identity, instead of one forced upon it. It will not only transform the back yard but I guarantee it will inspire other parts of your life to be in balance.
And once your Brooklyn green garden does find its identity it will be a strong one. If you force a garden to be what you want then you need to constantly tend it, constantly water it and worry about pests.
But if the garden has it’s own identity it means it is perfectly suited to it’s place. Place and plant are one and both are happy.