Sign of the Times

About a year ago, Jim Kleinwachter from The Conservation Foundation came over to determine if we practiced good environmental stewardship on our small parcel of land.

Absolutely, yes!

We use no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers. We use organic composts instead of store brought plant growth enhancers and BOY, do our gardens GROW!  Not only that, it encourages all of the native species of insects, amphibians, birds and mammals to visit and part take of nutrients that they need.  In return?  they give back fertilizer, pest control and unlimited, wonderful photo ops!

The Conservation Foundation will award you (like they did us!) a lovely Conservation@Home sign if your yard qualifies.

Qualifying considerations:

• native plants (trees, shrubs and or flowers)
• butterfly and/or rain garden
• effort to eliminate invasive, exotic species (buckthorn, honeysuckle, etc.)
• organic fertilizing (no chemicals)
• water source & habitat for wildlife

We have all this and more (with the exception of the rain garden).

We have two rain barrels, many fruit bearing plants, bushes and trees, a nut bearing tree, native flowers (too many to name!), bird feeders, nest boxes, water fountain, brush piles and more!

All these endeavours were accomplished over the years, not just in one season or one year.

When we first became home owners, we spread out store brought, big bags of weed n’ feed each spring like all good suburban home dwellers.  Sure it killed the dandelions and made our grass greener… BUT… it also demanded that we water it more and mow it more. More work!?  More expense!?  Less diversity too. We did not see toads or hummingbirds or many other sensitive native species of wildlife in our yard.  Perhaps they were  indirectly harmed or hindered by what we used to ‘beautify’ our lawn.

Live and learn: is what we did!

We did research and found out that in introducing chemicals to our yard, we were also putting it into our water. Rain washes away a portion of the chemicals and then leech down into the aquifer and inevitably into our water ways.  This leads to many environmental problems, even as far away as the Gulf, where the midwest waterways empty into.

Years and years have passed by without us using any company manufactured weed and feed and we now have humming birds each year, toads, butterflies, salamanders, snakes, rabbits, ducks, insects of all amazing kinds and a lawn that is speckled with spring-time dandelions, much to Gary’s delight!

A garden is always a Work-in-Progress.  We will continue to add to our native collection of plants and flowers.  We will keep our focus on organic and sustainable endeavours. We will consider nature and what ‘she’ requires to stay healthy and viable for our time and space shared with her.

Doing what we (now) instinctively know is right, brings not only a sense of good stewardship but of a partnership with a much larger, very important, joint venture.

You can find out how your land can be “sign worthy” by visiting


~ by Gary & Therese on April 19, 2011.

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