"There are 90 million of us," Joe Lamp'l told the members of the Boca Grande Garden Club at their Jan. 14 meeting at the community center. "As we are beautifying our landscapes, we're doing some not so beautiful things."
A master gardener, certified landscape professional, author, syndicated columnist, national television host and radio personality, Lamp'l spoke about topics he covered in his latest book, "The Green Gardener's Guide," with his talk entitled, "Greening Your Garden While Protecting Our Planet." He is host of the PBS series "GardenSmart" and DIY Networks' "Fresh from the Garden."
Lamp'l outlined several "simple, significant actions to protect and preserve our planet:"
At the tea in the Woman’s Club Room following his presentation, Master Gardener Joe Lamp’l signed copies of his book, “The Green Gardener’s Guide” and his prior book, “Over the Fence.”
1. Eliminate water waste. "About half of water used is wasted," he said. "It's being used up faster than it's being supplied." To eliminate waste, Lamp'l recommended using drip hoses, watering during the dew cycle (at night or early morning), water on a timer, use rain barrels and save "warm up" water collected from sinks and bathtubs.
2. Protect watersheds from toxic chemicals. "What's not absorbed," he said, referring to lawn chemicals, "leeches off or runs off. All the chemicals eventually end up running off into our bays and the gulf." Using mulch to protect the surface of the ground and native plants to buffer runoff can help keep our water clean.
3. Healthy plants are not chemically dependent. "If you put the right plant in the right place," he said, "it solves 90 percent of the problems out there."
4. If you resort to chemicals, use them responsibly. "The residual effects of sprays can kill beneficial insects," Lamp'l stated. "Don't spray indiscriminately... If you're married to chemicals, at least keep it on target."
5. Landscape to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. "We need to reduce the stress on our landfills," he said. Some of his suggestions were letting grass clippings go down into the lawn, shredding paper for compost and using pots made from "cow poo" or soy products.
6. Garden to protect air quality and reduce energy. Most lawnmowers give off more harmful emissions than a car, he said. One alternative is a push mower or recycling mower.
7. Plant the seeds of change beyond the boundaries of our own gardens. "It's very important for us to go out and tell the story," he said as he ended his presentation.
At the tea in the Woman's Club Room following his presentation, Lamp'l signed copies of his green gardening book and his prior book, "Over the Fence."
The next meeting of the Garden Club will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 1 p.m. in the Boca Grande Community Center auditorium. The guest speaker will be Roger Swain from public television's "Victory Garden," who had to cancel his scheduled appearance last season.
Look for more photos from the January meeting of the Boca Grande Garden Club in the February issue of Gasparilla magazine, along with Garden Club President Nora Lea Reefe's column, "Focusing on Gardening."