Monday, September 21, 2009

Carbon-Neutral Gardening

With proper planning, native plants and some appropriate actions, homeowners can create carbon-neutral landscapes.

The Manhattan Beach garden is a case in point. Kent designed it to be carbon-neutral, though you might not know it by looking at it. Like many suburban yards, it has several shade trees, including an impressive California sycamore that casts a leafy canopy over much of the backyard. California flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum), golden monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) and fuchsia-flowering gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) are just a few of the wildflowers growing on the property that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The landscape’s mostly native plants require very little water, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers—only homemade compost. What the garden does not have is a lawn, which can be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions depending on the products used to maintain it.

Gardeners unwittingly contribute to the problem of global climate change in a variety of ways. For starters, we consume energy directly, by deploying the entire panoply of power equipment deemed essential for a proper modern landscape. These tools, particularly gasoline-powered equipment, collectively can generate large amounts of CO2 emissions. Read the entire article.

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