How to Create an Earth Day Worthy Garden
The Earth Day Celebration
The International Earth Day celebration was founded by Gaylord Nelson, the U.S. Senator of Wisconsin back in the 1970s. It was all about promoting ecology and being aware of the upcoming environmental problems of the air, water and soil pollution. The celebration started at primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. In 1990 the celebration took a big hike and today this yearly event is celebrated in almost 200 countries.
My article is for those who find it important to tribute in their own small way in order to gain consciousness 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 site 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 jumbo rumbo, an expression I use for something very messy. However 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 our property. It's my small effort to contribute to a balanced and healthy earth.
Environmental Gardening can not only be done in small or bigger gardens, but also on balconies and even inside the house.
Earth Day: Videos of First Celebrations in 1970 - Nations Realized They Had to Do Some Clean Up
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.
How to Contribute to Earth Day
If You Have a Garden or Balcony: Go Green
As I mentioned before, I'm very fortunate to be able to live in the country in a little farmhouse with a big garden. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and agricultural land. We're living here now for 30+ years and I'm always busy turning my garden into a friendly wildlife/insect sanctuary.
However you don't really need a garden to go green. You can also do that if you have a balcony and even if you have neither, you can go green inside the house. We once did when living in an apartment in a city.
This Is My Way of Going Green in the GardenClick thumbnail to view full-size
Treat Your Garden in a Friendly Manor
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 enthusiastic 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 horsetail (Equisetum) that 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.
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.
- 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 working very well to get rid of pests.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wooden Fencing
Deforestation is a world wide problem. Make sure that your fence or the wood you buy comes from a well managed forest.
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.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
Hogweed Isn't a Lady You Should 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 - so to speak - 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.
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.
Don't Take down Dead Trees
Pollard Willow Trees - One of the Most Beautiful Trees I KnowClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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
Beautiful Balcony Gardens on the Internet - You can always get ideas by looking how others have done it
- Balcony garden for small area | Kris Allen Daily
Balcony garden tips: for the container, you should choose fiberglass material because not only its cheaper but also light weight.
- Balcony Garden Dreaming: work experience on a Melbourne balcony garden
A beautiful Melbourne Balcony Garden
You'll need a Watering Can if you have plants in pots
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
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
Ideas for Environmental Protection Events - Get them neighbours off their chairs
- Earth Day Resolutions - A People-Based Approach To Solving The Climate Crisis
Promoting widespread commitments to green behaviors
Poll about Earth Day
Are you participating in any way to keep our Earth clean and healthy?
Earth Day Activities and Vegan Challenge
Go Green in Gutters
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
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
Watering Can - very useful for your indoor garden
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?
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.