Every so often, we read something that resonates.
Our good gardening friend Liz Primeau, who has a history steeped in the written word, wrote a compelling op-ed for the Globe and Mail a couple of weeks ago titled, "How Ethically Does Your Garden Grow?"
In her usual fashion, she forces the reader to think outside of the box. Consider, for example, the current state of the environment as it relates to our activity in the garden. Liz asks, "What can a simple gardener do?"
The answer, of course, is that we have many opportunities to help ol' Mother Earth. We are, after all, people of the earth. Where would gardeners be without it? Liz urges us to, "Live with insects and the plants we consider weeds. It's time that gardeners realize deep in their guts that humans are occupants of the world, not rulers of it. It's time that all gardening choices be ethical."
We support this position. In our new book Escape to Reality, How the world is changing gardening and gardening is changing the world (Nimbus Press) we explain our own position on this. With a new generation of up and coming gardeners reminding us daily of our responsibilities to our planet, we feel compelled to quit demonizing critters like bats, toads, snakes and native bees, as we have done for generations.
We are building insect HOTELS in our yards, inviting many of the very species that Canadian gardeners went out of their way to kill only a few years ago.
We are planting more native plants.
We are going out of our way to plant pollinating, flowering plants.
Take milkweed. Time was, most every Canadian gardener pulled the stuff out of the garden before it could bloom and set seed. Now we buy packets of the seed off the rake at our favourite retailer and sow them with abandon to support the declining monarch butterfly population.
If we willingly sow today what was considered a weed only yesterday, just how much can we change in the next short while?
Environmentalists tell us that time is running out.
Which is another reason why we should all read Liz's column. "Deep down I know that we need more than a loose connection of gardeners to save the world. We need to be united in our awareness and our quest." We need to be united, we repeat.
In our book, Ben and I suggest that, "This is the most exciting time in the history of our country to be a gardener." Perhaps, more than that, it is the most important time as well.
Gardeners are, after all, so much more than tillers, weeders, planters and harvesters. We are conservationists and even social activists. We care and we use action to foster change.
We enjoy making progress, not just talking about it.
We hope you are stimulated by it.
Wishing you a wonderful June in the garden.
Mark and Ben