Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas read and green...?

Form and colors of larger, non-native "distant cousin", Marina Strawberry Tree, echoed by native cultivar, Louis Edmonds Manzanita.

Some of my neighbors and family members probably think I am Ms. Scrooge. No plastic boughs adorn my mantle, no tinsel hangs from a tree cut down in its youth, no exotic
Euphorbia pulcherrima grace my garden walk or hearth, and no strings of lights glow from roof's edge.

Yet, in our own way, my garden and I are perhaps as Christmas "read and green" as we can be. Ours is a more subdued celebration. And so this blog post is a part of that celebration, maybe even tooting my own flute as if I am allowed.

Reflecting on what in 2010 held my interest most, three things stand out:
  • learning about use of native plants in the landscape
  • learning to design and install drip irrigation systems, especially for gardening with edibles
  • re-learning to play my flute, which I am sharing with my faith community during the holidays
Over the past year, I have attended more than 28 classes or lectures on sustainable landscape design and maintenance, including over 10 classes devoted to California native plants. I have been engaged as a speaker one time for a presentation titled "Enduring Beauty in the Garden: Sustainable Practices." I also tabled at one Earth Day event, sharing a display of native plants and books about how to care for them.

Each day as the Christmas season nears I read even little snippets from the prophets or scriptures to prepare my heart for the approaching, blessed Christmas season. Mindful of the journey of the Israelites, I continue my own journey of faith, following a path where I feel led, hoping to continue learning and sharing lessons of sustainable living. Tomorrow, I will participate in worship services and an afternoon concert, playing my flute publicly, something I had not done in over thirty years.

You see, I am becoming "read" and "green" in and out of the garden. My garden, by the way, sports quite a bit of red (read: pink, burgundy, and rust) and green (read: blue-green, grey-green, even a little true green.)

Who needs to decorate with shades of red and green not likely found in nature, when in one's garden, nature has done this...

And, this...

Even the garden next door, in which I planted over fifteen species of native plants this year, proves lawn-less is more green...

Both gardens no longer require power tools for routine maintenance. Neither mowing, nor blowing, nor hedge-trimming are employed. And, when established, most of the plants in both gardens will use much less water than a typical suburban landscape.

As 2010 draws to a close, I am thankful for all I have learned and grown. Looking forward in the years ahead to help more people find peace and satisfaction in their gardens, nurture native plants, and become true "locavores" by growing some of their own food. And, when winter rains subside and weather warms with advancing spring, I hope my neighbors won't mind too much the sound of a flute wafting through an open window.