It’s that time of year to talk to your Landscaper about your Eco-Anxiety
Edwina von Gal in her garden at Marshouse, East Hampton, NY; Photo: Susan Griffen
It’s that time of year when those of you who hire landscapers to maintain and care for your yards may be wrestling with a renewal contract and you are anxious about your health and the environment and the climate crisis and what to do. We heard from Edwina von Gal of Prfct Earth and she had this on her mind too…
“…you aren’t sure whether signing up for a weekly dose of noise and pollution in your yards is the best thing to do. It adds to your eco-anxiety. But instead of worrying you could use the moment to do good. To do good for the environment and super healthy for you and your family.
You just need your landscaper to do things a bit differently by switching to nature-based practices. He/she may not know how and chances are you don’t know either. Sadly there are very few nature-based landscapers and there probably isn’t anyone better for you to hire than the one you have. So unless she/he flatly refuses to try, don’t fire them. Let’s engage and train the ones we’ve got and send the message out that this is the future of land care. It is healthier for them, too.”
Everything you need to get started — in English & Spanish
For a typical maintenance schedule which you can use as the basis of a new contract — go to page 21 — review it with your landscaper. It should not cost more. There are no products to purchase!”
Edwina von Gal:
“What is Nature-Based Landscaping? Healing. Not Harming. Let Nature do the Nurturing.
1. No toxic fertilizers or insecticides. Fertilizers overstimulate plants and make them susceptible to disease. The right plant for your soil doesn’t need them. Insecticides are not target specific, they kill beneficial insects and soil organisms.
2. Retain, recycle and re-imagine all biomass. Keep what your property produces (grass clippings, leaves, clippings, weeds) and feed them back to the soil. It is the food your place made for itself. Better than anything you can buy, and without the carbon footprint.
3. Plant at least 2/3 native plants. Plants did fine without us humans for eons, so if you plant the ones that evolved in your conditions, they will still be fine with very little from you. Plus, they provide just the right food and shelter for local birds and pollinators. (See 2/3 for the Birds for more)
4. Avoid and remove invasive plants. Get to know which plants are invasive: See the Invasive Plant Atlas.
5. Water Properly. Very seldom. Very deep. Over-watering is one of the most common landscape malpractices. It leads to a wide range of plant and soil problems and promotes tick and mosquito populations.
6. Minimize pruning. Every cut is a wound. Plant with plenty of space for trees and shrubs to grow to their natural shapes. Leave deadwood and standing dead trees, unless positioned dangerously, they provide unique food and nesting opportunities.
7. Relax and Enjoy! Your landscape is not your living room; forcing it to be tidy, clipped, and fixed in times is a “dead room.” Let it be alive, always changing and creating new surprising delights for you.”
Segment of Marshouse, Edwina von Gal’s garden in Springs, East Hampton, NY
These principles have influenced our advocacy at ChangeHampton