Gardens are extensions of our homes, places in which we get outside to relax, entertain, and get some physical exercise. But our gardens are also extensions of the natural world. Through our gardens, as well as other neighborhood greenspaces, we can help counter some of the woes faced by larger... show more
Gardens are extensions of our homes, places in which we get outside to relax, entertain, and get some physical exercise. But our gardens are also extensions of the natural world. Through our gardens, as well as other neighborhood greenspaces, we can help counter some of the woes faced by larger environments: rampant development, loss of plant and animal habitat, spread of invasive species, exploitation of natural resources, air and water pollution, and the impacts of global warming. Yes, even small urban backyard landscapes can combat such man-made strains on our local environment—and it’s easy to do!
In his new book, The Northwest Garden Manifesto, scientist and gardener John J. Albers provides a comprehensive guide to encourage and enable homeowners to consider the local ecosystem in their own gardens, and in their larger communities. The ideas and concepts in this book reflect the most up-to-date thinking on urban ecology and how to best make our yards reflect the natural world around us.
The key to Albers’s approach is for gardeners to first assess the current state of their property and then focus on the following key principles:
1. Protect, conserve, and create healthy soil
2. Maintain healthy plants and create a sustainable landscape
3. Conserve water and other natural resources
4. Protect water and air quality
5. Protect and enhance wildlife habitat
6. Conserve energy
7. Use sustainable methods and materials
Through clear explanation, practical examples, and full-color photos, Albers shows how to evaluate any yard in terms of these principles and then challenges the reader to improve each element, one step at a time. From creating better soil to starting a compost pile, attracting pollinators to adding more native plants, or creating a simple circulating water feature to building a fence from recycled wood—gardeners will ultimately turn their backyards into beautiful, healthy, and happy habitat for all.