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Embracing Sustainable Gardening: Flourishing Across the Region

Embracing Sustainable Gardening Practices in the Local Community

The native columbine, known for its blooming period from March to May, signifies the arrival of April—a month filled with anticipation and exploration. Polk County FFA students have been actively engaged in the sale of flowers and vegetable plants. However, they advise waiting to plant until the soil has sufficiently warmed. The recent Gardening for Life Celebration on March 30 was a vibrant event that left a lasting impression.

During the event, Jim McCormac delivered an enlightening presentation on gardening practices that support various moth species, emphasizing the possibility of fostering life in all its forms through gardening. Once native plants have taken root, the key is to step back, observe, and allow nature to take its course. Nevertheless, the initial groundwork of eliminating invasive plants is essential.

Experts like McCormac and Doug Tallamy, the previous year’s GFLP celebration speaker, caution against the common tendency to excessively tidy landscapes using herbicides, which can have detrimental effects on native wildlife. Instead, they advocate for leaving fallen leaves in place of mulch, as they serve as habitats for caterpillars, larvae, fungi, and overwintering adult moths, crucial for the ecosystem’s balance. Pollinators play a vital role in sustaining life, underscoring the importance of their conservation efforts.

The shift towards cultivating naturalistic gardens has gained momentum, with local nurseries, garden centers, and large retail stores now offering a variety of native plants. The recent Gardening for Life Celebration witnessed a surge in sales, with the FFA embracing native plant cultivation through plugs provided by GFLP and nurtured in their greenhouse. Lisa Wagner, a renowned botanist, gardener, and naturalist, highlighted the significance of creating ecologically sustainable landscapes by drawing inspiration from natural plant communities in conserved areas and parks during the Conserving Carolina speaker series.

The once niche concept of gardening for life, valuing all living beings, has transitioned into a mainstream movement. Organizations like Champions for Wildlife are actively engaging children to foster a love for nature and its wonders. As part of the Earth Day celebrations on Sunday, April 28, Spriggly’s Beescaping will host a program on pollinator-friendly planting at the Congregational Church in Tryon from 3 to 4:30 p.m., followed by a garden tour and Q&A session. Similar Earth Day events are scheduled in neighboring communities.

GFLP remains committed to offering educational programs throughout the year, providing ample resources for discovering the marvels of sustainable gardening practices right within the community.

Submitted by Christel Walter