Thursday, March 6, 2008

knowing your plants, understanding balance

Canadian Botanical Conservation Network is a registered Canadian charitable organization aiding botanical gardens, arboreta and related organizations, individuals and others to increase their participation in plant conservation and biodiversity programs. Their site boasts (I think) the best children's information page called Botanists in Training which provides an opportunity for kids to dig a little deeper into the science of gardening and plants.

I'm thinking about this in response to my recent wanderings through the Agora, where The Food Security Research Network is holding their Second Annual Food Security Forum today. Displays are set up wth poster presentations on organic gardening in Thunder Bay (and surrounding area), and studies on the effects of various factors (human and otherwise) on environmental conditions relating to food production in northwestern Ontario.

Gardening with native plants and heritage varieties rewards the gardener, the garden, and the wildlife within. Sadly, naturalized gardening has been frowned upon by those uninformed, with the misconception that these gardens are "untamed" or have "gone wild" when in actuality they are beautiful contributors to our environment, keeping peace with the earth. I believe it was sometime just last year, or the year before when I read an article from a Toronto area paper wherein complaints were filed against a homeowner for a garden "gone wild" and considered an eyesore by neighbors, when in fact it was a garden full of natural species providing an oasis for wildlife within the bizarre urban subdivision. It was startling to read, considering.
Gardening with native plants is often easier (less maintenance because you're not trying to force something to grow where it wouldn't normally) and can use less water, pesticides and fertilizers than with nonnative plants - for obvious reasons. It's the smrt way to go.

Native plants are suited to this environment and provide a variety colours and textures in winter. Something not considered often enough here in TBay - thinking winter is for reading in bathtubs, rather than admiring foliage....and thinking about how beautiful the hydrangeas outside the Regional Center are right now, buried in ice and snow as they are, I can not disagree.

Another notable site: The Organic Gardener

No comments: