Garden Ethics

Your garden is a protest. It is a place of defiant compassion. That space is one to help sustain wildlife and ecosystem function while providing an aesthetic response that moves you.

Benjamin Vogt  

I am just beginning to shift my brain to ecological gardening. First step. Cover the ground and let them sort it out. I am good at that. Slowly I will add some natives in to the perennial bed and next fall I am going to create a small meadow out beyond. I get a lot of satisfaction from ignoring the rules of horticulture I learned in school. So happy to be here now.



it is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in this broken world.

From Mary Oliver’s latest volume, Red Bird, “Invitation”:

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning

but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.


Native Plants

A key benefit of growing native plants from seed is it’s the best way to preserve the genetic diversity within a species. In the wild, most plants reproduce by seed. Seeds develop when flowers are pollinated (usually by insects, sometimes by the wind) mixing the genes of multiple individuals. This results in genetically diverse individuals. This variation is a wild plant’s best strategy to adapting to future environmental conditions as individuals differ in their ability to deal with drought, heat, flooding, cold, and pollution.

Heather McCargo

how can you tell if you are too close?

“How can you tell if you are too close to an animal? You are too close if it changes its behavior. For example, it stops eating, flees the area (sometimes leaving its young unprotected), its ears go back or the hair on the back of its neck stands up.”
Baxter News, notes from Baxter

On the surface this seems obvious, but it is more than that to me. It is a huge life lesson, both psychological and ecological. All of us need the space to feel safe. Most of the problems on the planet arise from not abiding by this simple rule.