Garden Clippings for Nov 20, 2021
News reporters took a welcome break from Covid and gave considerable coverage to the COP26 Climate Summit held in Glasgow, Scotland. The Summit, held Oct 31 to November 12, brought world leaders, scientists and activists together to look for agreement on how to deal with the current climate change crisis.
Judging by the news, it seems we are finally taking the issue of climate change seriously. A mere decade or two ago, there were plenty naysayers calling global warming a hoax, but these deniers are now drowned out.
It would be easy for us to dump climate change issues on the lap of world leaders, thus waiting for others to give us citizens a top-down action plan that we obediently subscribe to. But we are all responsible for the current crisis and it would be wise for all of us to take personal corrective action.
Home gardeners have already seen the effects of climate change. Flowering Dogwoods, Japanese Maples, and Rhododendrons which were once considered marginally hardy in Lambton County, now thrive without winter protection. We are seeing change in the habits of wildlife, particularly insects, heading our way from the south, while others are heading north in search of cold.
Invasive plants such as Phragmites and garlic mustard are rampant in Lambton County, quite possibly because of warmer temperatures. The concern is that these invasive plants are beginning to outcompete our native species. Oak Wilt, originally a problem in warmer States, is now threatening Canadian forests.
The warning signs are increasingly obvious and there is now widespread agreement that we need to take meaningful steps to curb carbon emissions. In our own backyards there are several steps we can take to personally make a difference.
- Reduce the use of gas- powered tools. Leave the lawn mower at the highest cutting height and use it only when necessary. Consider using a sharp spade instead of line trimmer and use a rake and broom instead of a leaf blower.
- Reduce energy consumption by switching traditional lighting to energy efficient LED bulbs. Use automatic timers to turn lights and water fountains off at bedtime.
- Plant a native garden. Native plants offer endless diversity, improve vital pollinators and build food supply for wildlife.
- Compost diligently. It takes little effort to gather food scraps and garden waste and turning it into rich garden soil. If you don’t need it on the garden, spread it on the lawn.
- Reduce water consumption. In-ground water systems keep grass green but are thirsty water hogs. Deep watering once a week is a better approach than applying water every second day. Keep the mower at the highest setting to reduce desiccation.
- Plant trees. In the last few centuries, we have built roads, ploughed fields, and harvested lumber with little regard for the environment. Reforestation efforts will absorb umpteen tons of C02 and will provide shade for your home, reducing the need to run air conditioners.
- Allow your garden to relax. Plant a variety of species in order to attract a greater variety of birds and wildlife. Consider leaving a heap of twigs in the corner of the yard to give a home to snakes and bunnies. Educate yourself in order to learn which plants and trees will attract wildlife to your neighbourhood.