This last part of our Sustainable Gardening series will focus on how plant choice and energy use effects sustainability.
Many of us incorporate annuals and perennials in our gardens. Perennials come back year after year (but not indefinitely), and annuals are planted yearly. Perennials generally have a season of bloom and annuals bloom all summer – that’s why the two pair so well. Because perennials don’t need to be planted each year, they promote sustainability for many reasons – less energy use, less water, etc.
That being said, planting perennials appropriate for the zone you live in so they return each year is really important. For us in the Edmonton area, we can use plants that grow in zones 1 – 4, with zone 4 being the highest zone with a good success rate. Here a few suggestions for great perennials in those zones:
- Zone 4 perennials: Ligularia, Calamagrostis Reed Grasses, Salvia, Fall Blooming Sedum, Solidago, Cimicifuga (Actea)
- Zone 3 perennials: Euphorbia polychroma, Dictamnus, Peony, Lily, Hosta, Hemerocallis, Campanula Clips, Dicentra
- Zone 2 perennials: Pulsatilla, Primula auricula, Phlox subulata, Alchemilla
Check out this link our blog on Fifteen Fab & Faithful Perennials for more details on great perennials performers for the Edmonton area. Keltie, can you make a link here?
The culture of native plants is fairly new to the horticultural industry and more are becoming available. This is definitely a class of plant to keep your eye as it develops.
Reducing Energy Use to Tend Gardens
This isn’t an island to itself, other measures mentioned in parts 1-3 of this series all contribute to a smaller energy footprint. Here are some ideas:
- Consider using a manual lawn mower
- Rain water collection
- Gravity feed irrigation systems
- Solar lighting for paths & walkways
- Mulching reduces landfill quantities & the energy to get it there
- Mulching lawnmower
Sustainability is something we can all work towards but it’s something that we can head towards one step at a time. In some cases, it’s about redefining our definition of pretty and what our expectations are to make it happen. Everything we do to head in this direction contributes to keeping our world a good place for future generations.
Sources: http://www.planetnatural.com/sustainable-gardening/, http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/sustainable-gardening.aspx, http://www.dummies.com/home-garden/gardening/sustainable-gardening-for-dummies-cheat-sheet/, http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/lawn-care/10-tips-for-sustainable-gardening/ http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/sustainable-gardening-zm0z11zsto, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-cohen/sustainable-gardening-and_b_9880140.html, http://www.chicagobotanic.org/plantinfo/sustainable_gardening, http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf, http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/how-to/sustainable/practices