lems. Consider removing plants that need high maintenance with chemicals.
Pesticides applied broadly will disrupt the natural balance and may eliminate benefi-cial insects — the ones that eat the bugs that eat your plants. And some of the pests eating your plants turn into beautiful butterfl ies or provide food for birds. Insects are an important part of the diet of songbirds, and if we have none in our gardens, the birds won’t sing.
Gardeners also have control over the amount of fossil fuels burned. Composting food waste and garden clippings in your own yard means trucks won’t need to haul it to a far-off composting facility and then haul that same material back as mulch. Set aside an area in your garden for composting so you can capture the valuable organic matter your garden produces.
Our use of water in our gardens is an important environmental issue, too. Our region’s population is increasing while water is a limited resource. A large percentage of water stored from fall through spring in our snowpack and reservoirs is used in the summer for gardens.
By choosing low-water use plants, reducing the size of lawns and watering carefully, gardeners can conserve water, save money and make water available for other important uses such as salmon recovery.
As gardeners, we are connected to the natural world. Let’s make our actions in our gardens reflect what we have learned through those connections.
¦ Sunset rockrose (Cistus ‘Sunset’), with magenta flowers, makes a great choice for a low-water-use garden. This pest-free plant needs no fertilizer to thrive in a sunny spot.