Monday, July 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Gardens


Now that cosmetic pesticides are banned in Ontario and Quebec, with more jurisdictions poised to take action and reduce our exposure to these unnecessary, toxic chemicals, many gardeners are rediscovering the joys of truly "green" gardening. Pesticide-free lawns and gardens are blooming across the country this summer.

Five-year-old Calvin Melanson and his family from Ancaster are being showcased in the David Suzuki Digs My Garden national contest. They have planted flowers that attract natural predators for pests such as aphids, and use nematodes on their lawn to kill grubs. A highlight of their yard are vegetable gardens and raspberry canes that provide a bounty great enough to share with their neighbours. You can read more about the Melansons in the Ancaster News: http://www.ancasternews.com/news/article/180784

Unfortunately, not all neighbours appreciate the eco-friendly approach to yard care. Hank and Vera Jones of Ottawa have created a pollinator garden on their half-acre property; their yard features native grasses, fruit trees and wildflowers that have attracted birds and insects to the neighbourhood. In early July, a neighbour's complaint resulted in a visit from city bylaw officers with instructions to mow the yard, or it would be mowed for them and they would be billed for the work. A compromise is currently in place that will see most of the garden preserved, but the Jones' story is far from over. You can keep up to date with the Ottawa Citizen: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Constance+pollinator+garden+stay+with+conditions/1771047/story.html

Pesticide-free gardens and natural yards showcase the beauty and wonder of nature in settings we can all access, enjoy, and appreciate. We can all use a little more green in our lives, and the garden is the perfect place to start.

Photo by Barbara Schaefer.

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