Changes in How We Garden in Times of Climate Change

It’s a great time to think creatively about our outdoor spaces. Major shifts in the way we approach our gardens and gardening decisions are crucial. As the climate changes, we also need to change and adapt, moving towards environmentally sound gardening practices. Home gardens are part of the solution!


Old Ways vs New Ways

The Perfect Lawn; it is not possible to have a gorgeous lawn except for a few weeks in spring or fall

The Freedom lawn; whatever grows, grows; mow & have less lawn, more time for other things

Gas powered garden equipment; especially mowers and blowers

Quieter garden equipment with zero emissions (California has a new law that by 2024, sales of all gas-powered lawn equipment is banned so new equipment purchased will have to be electric). Montgomery County has a proposal outlined called Climate Work Plan for fiscal year 2022: "Introduce legislation to band the sale and use of gas-powered leaf blower equipment."

Creating gardens that are separated from their surrounding natural environment

The New Naturalism means more of a natural feel; more curves; let the natural world in; connect to our local eco-region

All areas of the garden must be neat and tidy with fallen leaves removed - the old-fashioned approach to gardens

Leave the Leaves is a program of the Xerces Society to support pollinators and other invertebrates who get their winter cover from fallen leaves. Forego the raking, mowing and blowing in some areas because leaves provide food and shelter for many butterflies, bees and more; most pollinators spend their winters here and hibernate under leaves

Appearance Gardening which is simply to look good to others

Gardening for the greater good -- for health & well-being & to support wildlife; no need for perfection

Regular use of rototillers

No longer is tilling recommended for soil health; research shows that rototilling disturbs the soil, destroying the soil aggregates, resulting in a tighter soil that reduces water infiltration. It also disrupts many of the living organisms and complex ecosystems that are vital to soil health

Bare grassy front areas in front of the house

Front gardens planted to make them welcoming using multiple planted layers of shrubs, perennials & annuals

The word sustainable for efforts to garden in healthy ways

Regenerative is considered more appropriate. This term applies to much that is needed in our approach to gardening and farming. When contrasted to sustainable, the concept of regeneration brings rebuilding, renewal, and restoration into the equation (whereas sustaining is based on preventing further damage and stopping situations from getting worse). The regenerative way of thinking is based on living systems and how they thrive

Planting or encouraging invasive plants like English ivy (Hedera helix), Chinese silvergrass (Miscanthus sinensis), or Japanese pachysandra. (Pachysandra terminalis)

Remove and replace using native plant substitutes such as: instead of English ivy, plant trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens); instead of Chinese silvergrass, plant little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium); instead of Japanese pachysandra, plant the native pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens)