Updated: Jan 20
The season has been so unstable that I am genuinely starting to worry about Spring. Last year we also had an inconsistent Winter and when Spring came and the works restarted, a late frost hit and killed most of my annuals which we’ve been planting this same time, year after year. I also lost specialty plants that I was hoping to get an early start; not to mention the trees and shrubs that lost their flower buds. Many of my clients lost ALL of their magnolia flowers. It was a sad sight because we got to watch for several weeks the dead buds up on the tree which was never going to bloom.
It’s clear that the inconsistency in winter temperatures has a negative effect on the health of our plants. Sudden drops in temperature can cause damage to plant tissues, leading to frost damage or freeze injury. That was very visible last year, especially on broadleaf evergreens. These damages are permanent and even fatal for the plant. The fluctuations in temperature can also cause plants to become stressed, making them more susceptible to disease and pest infestations.
Evolution is a very slow, gradual process that occurs over many generations, so plants and animals have adapted to the consistent patterns of weather in their specific environments over time. However, if there is a sudden change in weather patterns, such as an increase in the inconsistency of weather, it can be difficult for organisms to adapt quickly enough to survive. This can lead to declines in population, and in some cases, extinction.
Climate change, caused by human activities, is leading to an increase in weather variability and extreme weather events. This is a major concern for biodiversity, as it can have a detrimental effect on the survival and reproduction of many species, including ours!
To revert this scenery we must invest in conservation efforts, such as protecting and restoring natural habitats, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are crucial. Regenerative landscaping can play an important role in combating climate change by promoting carbon sequestration and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We urge you that in 2023 rethink your landscaping practices: rethink your lawn, expand your garden beds, create a meadow, maybe add some biochar and compost to your garden to-do list. All efforts count and make a difference.
A huge contribution you can make is talking about More Than Gardens to a friend, a school, private or public corporations, even a politician you know! The further we reach, more regenerative gardens are being built and their impact is then multiplied, because each garden doesn’t work alone. They work as a grid in the city, creating pockets of cooling native plants, carbon sinks, water filtering and wildlife habitat. So please, join the talk and let’s together regenerate our land.
Agatha & Te More Than Gardens team
It’s impossible not to pay attention to the weather when it has been completely unpredictable. How is it possible that a couple of weeks ago it was below 6F and today is hitting 50F mid January? When we see things like that happening it is important to reflect on the climate and how inconsistent our seasons are now, and what will come from it.
In Nature changes occur constantly, either in cycles or permanently. However, such changes are usually gradual, because it takes millions of years for animals and plants to adapt and survive to the new conditions. Like everything else our presence on this planet has consequences and we’ve chosen to come up to this point in Earth’s timeline without thinking on how these consequences would affect us, which is selfish in and out of itself. Our way of life struggling to make ends meet made us this way; we forgot that whatever we add to the soil and the water, will feed the tree, that makes the flower, that feeds the bees, that makes our apple. We forgot we are all connected to this beautiful chain. The impact of our walking on this earth can be positive or negative, it’s up to us to choose which one it will be. Each decision counts and each dollar is a choice.
The good thing is there is hope! We are bright; we have know-how and the technology to do better and save ourselves from extinction. The necessity of an urgent change is what’s been propelling companies like More Than Gardens to rise and reverse the scary picture we’ve been looking at for the past decade. It’s possible with green infrastructures , with environment restoration, with carbon sinking strategies and other initiatives that companies like ours have been preaching for years.
We are excited to share the new projects we’ve been working on and hopefully inspire you to change your landscaping habits and make a big difference in your local environment.
For example, there are several ways that you can use your landscape to capture carbon and lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We know that planting trees and shrubs is the most straightforward way, but the most permanent and efficient way to lower your carbon emissions is planning your landscape for energy efficiency.
Energy efficient landscapes use trees, shrubs, ground covers and vines to provide cooling shade in the summer as well as wind protection during the winter. It can also slash your energy bills; according to the EPA an energy-conserving landscape can reduce your energy bills in 40%. That’s huge!
There are several strategies that can be used to achieve that, strategic placing of trees; strategic placing of windbreaks; green roofs; use of biochar and proper rainwater management are a few examples.
These are simple immediate actions that property owners can take today to help reverse climate change. It’s empowering to know that we are not as hopeless as we thought we were. It’s true that private corporations should be held responsible for their emissions, 1000%; but we all contribute to the problem to some degree, according to the EPA, households are responsible for 16% of CO2 emissions and if we can do our part to mitigate that, I believe that we should.
More Than That, the change in climate will affect all of us, and yes there are a lot of things that we have to deal with that seem more immediate, more important; but if you take a deep breath and look around you will remember that you can’t be disconnected for long. We all need clean air, clean water and clean food and if we all work together to clean the mess that was left to us, if we all fix this for the future generations, we might have a chance. Humans are beautiful when we want to be. We can do better and I believe we will. We are here, and we’ve found you!
Agatha Martello & The More Than Gardens Team
While resolutions are apparently out and people now find them anxiety triggering; I on the other hand have always had fun mindfully considering and writing them down every New Year’s and I feel really good revisiting them throughout the year. They have always served me as a guide to help me keep focus on what 's important to me. The trick is to keep them realistic and simple.
If you have as one of your New Year’s goals to take some more positive action towards the environment and your own health, let me help you out and give you 5 easy ways you can be more sustainable and consequently healthier for 2023!
1 - Compost! - By composting you help offset the carbon emissions associated with organic matter decomposition , as well as soil and water pollution keep garbage away from landfills, where it would take forever to decompose and could cause soil and water pollution. Make sure you do it properly to make sure the process is Net zero carbon.
2 - Plant trees and shrubs! - Trees and shrubs are permanent features on your landscape so they offset carbon from the atmosphere for many many years. On top of that they clean the air, cool down temperatures, and serve as a habitat for birds and other nature creatures that help us keeping our system alive.
3 - Plant natives! - This way you rebuild the local ecosystem and assure survival of local species. They also usually require less fertilizers, pesticides and additional water supply for being originated from the micro environment, it’s adapted to live there.
4 - Rethink your lawn - Traditional lawn requires a lot of irrigation and other amendments (fertilizers, ph modifiers, pesticides) to keep it looking like a golf course as people expect it to be. Lawns doesn’t absorb as much rain water when compared to more natural landscapes, so its popular use is associated with floods and water pollution. You can reduce your lawn gradually but If you can’t reduce it all together, you can consider using lawn substitutes such as clover or another viable ground cover (give preference to natives if possible) and treat it organically to preserve the microflora and fauna present in the soil underneath.
5 - Grow your own food (organically) - Home grown food is healthier because you can control its conditions and amendments used. The University of Michigan presented a study saying that people who grow their own food eat more fruits and vegetables than the average grocery store consumer. CDC also considers gardening equivalent to exercising being beneficial to your health in itself. Moreover, by growing your own food, you eliminate all the carbon footprint associated with store bought alternatives.
These are fairly easy actions that anyone can begin with and you don’t have to take any drastic measures from December 31st to January 1st. You can determine easy steps,one plan, one plant, one project at a time.
We are here to show you that small changes can make a big impact and little by little change will come easily, and with beautiful designs on top of that!
Please let us know if you have any other suggestions on sustainable practices that we could add to our New Year’s resolution!
We wish you a happy new season, a healthy body and planet!