I wrote this story for my daughter and son-in-law who have a garden centre, feel passionately about the environment, and have a policy of encouraging clients to think wisely when planning their gardens. They'll use it in marketing and I thought my bloggy mates would enjoy it too ...
Life seems to go through cycles, but whatever age we may be we all have similar desires for our gardens: we want them to be beautiful, productive and cost effective while taking up little of our precious spare time.
Planning and forethought, and a helping hand from an expert can set us on the way to life long happiness in the garden stakes (!).
So far as gardens are concerned we can divide those life cycles into the years of young families, working professionals and the baby boomers who’ve recently retired, and then people living alone or as couples in their later lives.
If you think about it, at every stage we wish to use our money wisely while getting the greatest bang for our buck – and gardens have to pay for themselves as much as everything else in our lives.
Sustainability is the buzz word right now. But what does it really mean?
Trees and shrubs must pull their weight in conserving energy, creating shade in the summer while letting through warmth in colder times. They can do that and be beautiful too.
There should be a plentiful number of fruit trees and other food bearing crops. A veggie garden is paramount for nutrition and money saving strategies.
We’re all learning to cook again, and all good chefs know that there’s nothing but nothing nicer than fresh salads and greens to provide a solid basis in the kitchen.
Sustainability is investing now to help the future take care of itself. That’s what governments do in tough times, and we should do the same.
And so we set up pervious paths that let the rain soak into the earth while not costing heaps, and get ourselves good compost bins to make the most of every veggie scrap.
Perhaps we don’t need huge swathes of lawn that tie us down to mowing chores at the week-end and take up precious ground that could be ever so much more productive in other ways.
Every one of our decisions will stand the sustainable test: will it do the right thing by energy and water supplies? Will there be long term waste involved? Are we doing our bit to connect with our community? Properly designed gardens can do that.
Will our family be happy in this garden? Are we contributing to the health of our family? Are we in the fight against obesity and fast food? Are we protecting our bodies by establishing high rise veggie garden beds?
Sustainability means making decisions that will bring benefits in the long term, as well as for the now.
When we look at sustainability in this way we can see it’s important to everyone at whatever age. We can work within our own little patch of earth to make a contribution.
Down times are an opportunity!
(Lynne and John celebrate high rise veggie gardens at their garden centre - see the top picture. It's made from corrugated iron - bottomless. John fills them with top quality soil, cow manure and compost, adds general purpose fertiliser and a few water crystals and plants young seedlings. In our Australian spring such seedlings grow as large as those in the picture in just two or three weeks. Great for the grocery bills, for bad backs and they also help with the weeds.)
What are you doing at your place to make family life 'sustainable'?
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