by Robin McKillop
Many gardeners in Marin—and beyond—are moving toward a more natural style of landscaping. They are replacing resource-guzzling lawns with native plant gardens, installing rainwater catchment systems, recycling yard and food waste into soil amendments, and attracting beneficial insects as a means of natural pest control. Their gardens conserve water and energy, recycle resources on site, thrive without the use of toxic chemicals, and display a diversity of plant and animal life. Some call it sustainable or ecological gardening. Others call it environmentally friendly or natural gardening. We call it Marin-Friendly gardening. It works in harmony with nature to create and maintain ecologically productive gardens, attuned to the climate, microclimate, topography and soils of Marin.
This place-based approach to gardening is basically a return to common-sense gardening where waste is minimized, natural processes are encouraged and utilized, and local conditions are considered. Nature is viewed as an inspiring partner, rather than a threat, and natural plant communities are used as models for garden design. Just as plants growing in nature survive without special fertilizers, chemical pest controls or heavy irrigation, plants in our gardens can do the same. By selecting plants that are adapted to local conditions—such as soil, light, moisture, drainage and exposure—and allowing them to thrive naturally, Marin-Friendly gardeners are minimizing the impact of their gardens on our local environment.
Want to see Marin-Friendly gardening at work? Join us for the Marin-Friendly Garden Tour on Saturday, May 18.