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* How to create an Earth Day worthy garden

Updated on October 24, 2014
Titia profile image

I love critter friendly gardens, old roses and trees. Sometimes even dangerous plants like the Giant Hogweed. My garden is a biotope.

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What do you need to make an Environmental Garden

The International Earth Day celebration was founded by Gaylord Nelson, the U.S. Senator of Wisconsin back in the 1970s. In stead of telling you a long story here about the origin of the Earth Day movement. They explain it far much better than I ever could.

My article is for those who find it important to tribute in their own small way in order to gain consiousness that we should take care of our environment in a better and friendlier way then we have done so far. I am one of those fortunate people who live in the country in the midst of nature and having a very big garden. Well, I don't have a garden as tidy and neat as most people have. My garden is changing in a natural way constantly, because I don't have the time to work it all over. Some might see my garden as a pool of non organized rumbo bumbo, an expression I use for something very messy, but I like it the way it is and sometimes I hate it when the stinging nettles or other dominant weeds are taking over a too large portion of it.

Environmental Gardening can not only be done in big or small gardens, but also on Balconies and even inside the house.

As English is not my native language, you might find errors in my writing, like in grammar, so I apologize here and now.

Copyright text and photos, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman

Children always like to celebrate something - Celebrating Earth Day could be a lot of fun

Children should be taught at an early age that it's important to be careful with our earth and all that's in it.

Don't leave trash behind in nature, collect it and bring it to the proper places. That's what the kids in this book are planning to do. Collecting soda and other cans, left by careless people. In return they'll get some money and from that money they're going to buy a new plant for the park.

What the forest knows

This book isn't available yet, it will be release on November 14, 2014, but you can pre-order.

This book, written by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by August Hall, promisses to be a most beautiful book full of beautiful text and illustrations. It will take you on a hike in the beauty of nature. A must have for every nature lover and a fine gift to give to nature lovers.

Earth Day: Videos of First Celebrations in 1970 - Nations realized they had to do some clean up

How to make an Earth Day worthy Garden?

medlartree
medlartree | Source

Go Green in your Garden

Create a safe place for the critters and insects

Save the Critters

As I said in the Intro, I'm fortunate to be able to live in the country and to have a big garden.

Actually it's a little old farmhouse I 'm living in, surrounded by beautiful nature and agricultural land. We're living here now for over 32 years and I'm always busy turning my garden into a friendly wild animal/insect sanctuary. Critter Friendly Garden

Create Critter friendly little Monuments - This is how I go green in my garden

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Treat your garden in a friendly manor - wether it be an outside, balcony, gutter or inside garden

With treat your garden in a friendly manor I mean: let nature itself do her business and just help her point out the direction you want her to go, if possible. I let nature get her way in my garden, but sometimes she's too enthousiastic and then I have to correct her or cut her short. In my garden/meadows it's especially the stinging nettle, the thistle and the cockscomb (scelosia) who want to take over every empty space. Most of the time I can handle them by mowing them, (the sheep just love mowed nettles and thistles), but once in a while I just can't do anything else but spray them with poison (specially in the meadows), because I'm living in the midst of agricultural land and they have a law here that I'm not allowed to let the stinging nettle and the thistle go its way in meadows. Reason for that is: the seeds will blow upon the agricultural land of the farmers.

For the garden however there are more friendly and natural ways to keep it healthy.

  1. Recycling

    Turn the plant matter from your garden and kitchen into compost. There are lots of methods to do that, even in small gardens or balconies.

  2. Getting rid of pests

    Don't use chemicals if you can avoid it. Try to use natural methods in stead to keep your plants healthy. A mixture of soft soap and mythelated spirits is great to get rid of pests.

  3. Choose your plants wisely

    Plant flowers for you and the bees, butterflies and other flying honey sucking insects, plant fruits for you and some for the birds, plant some veggies, it's fulfilling to eat what you've grown yourself and turn what you don't eat into compost.

  4. Leave the wild flowers alone

    Make sure you don't dig up plants or gain seed from plants that grow in the wild. If we all would do that, no wild plant would be able to multiply itself anymore.

  5. Wooden Fencing

    Deforestation is a world wide problem. Make sure that your fence or the wood you buy comes from a well managed forest.

  6. Stones

    If you want to have stones, just remember that the quarrying of real granit stones, have caused severe damage to the environment and habitats. Try the artificial ones if you must have stones.

How come I am so fond of Nature? - I even like the Giant Hogweed

hogweed
hogweed

Hogweed isn't a lady you touch without gloves

Hogweed is one of the most beautiful wild plants I know, but one has to be careful touching it. Some people are very sensitive for the Hogweed's burning skin capacity. I have no troubles touching it, but one of my friends only have to look at it to get her skin burned. It's much more painful than the sting of stinging nettles, but somehow the hogweed loves me.

Then alas in June, when the hogweed is in its full bloom, the men who maintain the roadsides come with their big machines and mow them away. I'm fighting city hall every year, because the hogweed is growing on my own property, but they claim they have to keep the streets clean and safe for the passing public. It doesn't help that I tell them that the passing public is stopping to take pictures of my hogweed, they mow them anyway. So this year I'm going to get some legal advice about what exactly my rights are.

The Perfect Earth Day Videos

Don't take down dead trees

pollard willow trees
pollard willow trees

Woodpeckers just love dead trees

The Pollard Willow is a typical tree for this part of The Netherlands. You will find them everywhere, some are even over a 100 years old. Most of the time when they die, they don't get taken away, they just leave them, because even dead, they are beautiful and woodpeckers love to nest in them.

Pollard Willow Trees - One of the most beautiful trees I know

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Pollard Willows are beautiful and useful - We use our Willows in many ways

Pollard willows are indeed one of the most beautiful trees I know and they are also very useful. Each 3 to 5 years their branches have to come off, or there will be growing trees on trees and they will break down eventually, either by storm or gravity. The pollard willow tree is a survivor. It can be hollowed out completely, but as long as there is some good, healthy bark, it will keep growing.

  1. They keep the soil from washing away

    In my land most willow trees are planted on dykes and their roots prevent the soil from washing away in heavy rain.

  2. The thick branches were and still are often used as poles in a fence

    New, machine manufactured wooden poles are expensive, so most farmers still use the big willow branches as poles in their meadow fences.

  3. They provide wood for the wood stoves, that are still in use in a lot of farm houses around here

    We don't have central heating, we have a coal stove, a wood stove and an antique fireplace for the cold evenings in autumn and spring. We use every bit of the chopped branches. In the old days the smaller twigs were bundled up and used to burn the bread ovens.

antibiotic willow
antibiotic willow | Source

Pollard Willows as a Medicine for sheep

It's the asperin for sheep

Use more natural medicines

Did you know that the soft bark of Pollard Willows contain a natural painkiller and antibiotic? Not for people, but for sheep it's very good to eat them and sheep are just nuts about them. Every year I let the sheep eat from the chopped willow branches and when the lambs are a few months old they get some twigs too.

Few years ago we had an attack of the Blue Tongue disease, caused by the sting of a tiny mosquito, called Knut. Lots of sheep died and one of my adult rams got affected too and refused to eat. I put him in the stable and used to pour water in his mouth with a seringe and I would pick dandelion leaves. Sometimes he ate them, most of the time not. Then I read on the internet about the painkiller and antibiotic and I started to break off twigs from the willows and the ram started to eat them. Those willow twigs saved his life.

Go Green on your Balcony

Balcony-Garden
Balcony-Garden

The size of the balcony doesn't matter, it's the thought that counts

Brighten up your Balcony

Pimp your Balcony

Lots of people live in cities and only have a balcony to connect them to the outside world.

It doesn't matter if your balcony is small or large, there's always room for some plants. You can either grow flowers (even trees) or fruits and veggies. So....Go Green on your Balcony.

Photo courtesy: Balcony-Garden

Garden Pots for Balconies - there's a lot of choice in garden pots

If you like garden pots, then maybe these are what you were looking for. I myself don't put plants in pots, because I forget to water them in time.

You'll need a Watering Can if you have plants in pots

balcony garden
balcony garden

A cute story worth reading

Looking for photos of Balcony Gardens on the internet (I had to because I can't find my own photos from back then when I had a kind of balcony garden myself) I came across this photo and found it on a blog with lovely short story attached about a watery can. Definitely worth reading.

You will find it here, you just have to scroll down a bit What possessed me

earth day event
earth day event

Organizing Earth Day Events

Get your neighbourhood organized on Earth Day

Get active and organize something

There probably will be a lot of organizing events for Earth Day going around, but that doesn't mean you can't do something yourself. It doesn't have to be a big thing, it can be something you could do with the people living in your neighbourhood.

I will give you some ideas what to do on Earth Day


Poll about Earth Day

Are you participating in any way to keep our Earth clean and healthy?

See results

Earth Day Activities and Vegan Challenge

Go Green in Gutters

gutter garden
gutter garden

Go Green in a Gutter Garden - People are inventive and I can only learn

The Gutter Garden, how inventive and useful to people who have little space to grow plants. It's an ideal solution to grow some of your own veggies, isn't it. You can even do this indoors, but then you need some extra daylight lights I guess. I just love it when people think up stuff like this.

Did you notice how ingenious the watering problem is solved? You probably thought this gutter gardener hang his/her gutters in a very sloppy way, but it's done on purpose. By hanging the gutters this way, they only need to water the top gutter, and the water runs down and drips into the second gutter and so on all the way down to the last one and then into a big sink pot. Very clever thinking, because even with heavy rains, the veggies won't drown and rot.

Photo courtesy: Urban Gardening

Go Green indoors

indoor garden
indoor garden | Source

Go Green in your Indoor Garden

Creative Gardening in your living room

Build yourself an indoor garden

Even for those who are living in homes without a garden or balcony, there are possibilities in creating an indoor garden with minor effort and costs. I would have loved to show you a photo, but it so happens that I just can't find it. Isn't that awful? I went through a box of old pictures for about 30 minutes, but it isn't there and I just know there should be at least one. So in stead I made a composition that will give you an impression of how our indoor garden looked.

How we made our Indoor Garden

indoor garden design
indoor garden design

Watering Can - very useful for your indoor garden

Houston International 8582E FG 12-Inch by 6-1/4-Inch Assorted Fall Colors Enamel Watering
Houston International 8582E FG 12-Inch by 6-1/4-Inch Assorted Fall Colors Enamel Watering

To water our plants in the indoor garden, it was too much work to do that with a little potty flower watering cans, so I used something like this one and I sprayed the water all over. I could do that because the porous stones will suck up the water, giving the plants humidity for a long time.

 

Very simple, everybody can make an indoor garden, even in small places

I would have loved to show you a photo, but it so happens that I just can't find it. Isn't that awful? I went through a box of old pictures for about 30 minutes, but it isn't there and I just know there should be at least one. So in stead of showing you the photo, I made a composition that will give you an impression of how our indoor garden looked. It's a bit out of proportion, some stone towers were at least 1 meter/40" high, but that was only possible because we had a very high ceiling in that old house.

About 40 years ago, we lived for about 10 years in the city of Haarlem in The Netherlands, in a kind of apartment above my Auntie Greet's business (which was a wholesale trade in very specific equipement for University Labatories and watch repairers. It was a complicated old building, but as we lived on the first and second floor, we didn't have a garden so we made one indoors.

Our living room had a wooden floor and we put a rather thick plastic on the floor from wall to wall: 4 meters (160") long and 1 meter (= 40") deep and on top of that we put a layer of porous bricks, like the ones you see in the picture above. On top of that layer we build little towers in different heights. That was the base of our design. Then I gathered all the plants I had, bought some more (big ones) and put them on the bricks. You have to use pots with a hole underneath, so when you water the plants, they won't drown. The advantage of using those porous bricks is that you don't have to be too careful with watering the plants, because the bricks will obsorb the water. I used a rather big garden watering can and just poured water all over, not just in the pots. That way the bricks would be soaked and the plants had a moist environment, which they liked very much.

My indoor garden was a beautiful garden to look at. Besides plants, I also sowed some veggies in pots,like salade and peppers, an eggplant, tomatoes. Plants will always grow towards the light. We had enough light from the two large windows, but even better is to install some spots with daylight lamps at the ceiling, so the plants will grow up in stead of towards the light. I had to turn my plants once in a while.

Just google 'indoor garden' and you'll find a lot of inspiration.

Are we our own Ennemy?

Earth Day
Earth Day

We're not intelligent enough I fear

I'll take your hand and lead the way through my land

of nature. Imagine ploughed fields in late sunlight,

tall trees around rimpling creeks, the murmur of split levels.

A nightingale is touching the moon in classical notes.

Wrapped in silk, we spin our paradise.

If only, I could lay down my thoughts,

my tears, to rest this night.

Why haunt me, in weak moments of despair. My heart, wrapped

in iron, reflects the unsend love, till dawns dew,

made it rusty and hard to open.

I'm sorry if I don't use words, that make you purr and spin. I just

don't know what they mean. Nature leads my way

in simple steps from birth to death, from orange to black and everything

that's in between. Neatly arranged, so we know what's up.

Like kids, we like to explore our boundaries,

but each time we stretch the elastic to the breaking point

and then we cry. I wonder why we keep doing that.

It's not so hard to silence the masses and kill the critics.

It's been done a lot of times in het past and the now.

Harder is it to cause a war, where only words are used as weapons,

we've never passed that exam and never will.

We're not intelligent enough, I fear.

©Titia Geertman

So what are you going to do this year's Earth Day?

Send a message to the World

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    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      great lens.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 2 years ago from Virginia

      Cool lens! It was featured on our Facebook page today!

      https://www.facebook.com/GreenThumbOnSquidoo

    • VineetBhandari profile image

      VineetBhandari 3 years ago

      Great Ideas. thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      Congratulations on winning a purple star for this awesome lens!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 4 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Great collection of ideas for Earth Day: Blessed in appreciation.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I definitely believe no herbicides and pesticides should be used. Just the fact that there are so little pollinators around should make folks think twice before they want to kill "a" bug ~ they should realize they're killing "all" bugs ~ this is NOT cool! Thanks for the awareness, Titia! B : )

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I enjoyed reading your Earth Day lens.I am thinking of a gutter garden,I like the way it work.The pancakes are cool.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Australia

      It is tragic that the whole Earth Day concept was initiated in the 1970s and has taken 40 years to get any traction. I wonder where we would be if we were quicker to catch on. Blessings.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Creative and informative. I really like the gutter garden. That is something I could add to my unique collection of recycled items in my garden.

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 4 years ago

      I love the gutter gardens. What a novel idea. Your lens is beautiful, and I can tell how much you enjoy your sharing your garden. Thank you. Like you, I am fortunate to live in the country in a restored farmhouse. My garden is much to large, and I really can't keep up with it, but I accept it is a free-for-all. I let the wildflowers re-seed year after year. We have a 60+ year old honey bee colony in one of our out buildings that I hold responsible for the success of my garden.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How very refreshingly done with encouragement for everyone. My jaw dropped when I saw that you can actually eat stinging nettle...as you can tell, I have been stung by this painful weed, it would seem like sweet revenge to have a stinging nettle pancake! Congratulations for being honored on the 2012 Earth Day Monster Board....blessed!

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 4 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      I would have never thought to use stinging nettles to make [ancakes. Very informative lens. Congratulations on Making the Best of Squidoo 2012 Earth Day Lenses. Blessed!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I enjoyed strolling through your gardens and garden ideas. Love that rain gutter garden!

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 4 years ago

      Sooner or later, Go green will be necessary. Beautiful lens

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      This is a fabulous Earth Day lens for every day! The Pollard Willow Tree Gallery is just beautiful!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      Such a fabulous lens! Not only full of Green Living information, but beautifully done as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit here. I wish you the best of luck with your hogweed! Sue the b@$%@rds for trespassing! I would love to try those stinging nettle pancakes too, but there aren't any growing in the suburbia I just moved too. Oh well.

      *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to "My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012" in the "Healthy Living » Green Living" neighborhood.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Well done to you

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      I like reading your lenses, your doing a great job keep up the good work!

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 4 years ago

      Cool Lens; Happy Earth Day.

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 4 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Beautiful lens with so many great ideas. I Iove the photos of Willows and gutter gardens. Thanks

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