The Eco-Friendly Gardener

While gardening is generally a green activity, there are ways to make gardening even greener:

Remember that there really is no need for gardeners to use those plastic plant containers that usually end up in landfills. Instead, try using biodegradable pots that are actually better for what you’re growing. Some seed-starting pots can be dropped in the ground and forgotten. They are 100 percent organic, and they allow roots to grow right through them. More and more gardeners are using these kinds of pots, and the added benefit to you is that your new plants will avoid the shock of being moved from the pot to the soil.

Gardeners can be even more eco-friendly by making smarter choices with our lawn-care power equipment, which is responsible for 5 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. When buying new equipment, choose electric over gas-powered machinery. Electric ones create less pollution, even when you account for the energy needed to power them.

Here is one of my favorite flowers, for anyone who is interested.

Name: Astilbe, Astilbe x arendsii.
Flowers beautifully in late spring and early summer.

Description: This perennial grows in clubs with a height range of 12 to 48 inches and a spread of 12 to 24 inches, depending on the particular variety. The low-growing, dark-green foliage has compound leaves. Some varieties have bronze foliage. Flower spikes of tiny lavender, peach, pink, red or white flowers grow above the foliage. Deadheading doesn’t encourage more flowering.

Planting instructions: Astilbe can be bought in containers from early spring through the summer. If you’re going to place the plants in the ground, it is important to plant before late summer to ensure that the plants will be well-established before winter. Apply mulch after the ground freezes.

Use: Astilbes grow well in shaded areas. They are available in a wide range of sizes, so they can be used in a variety of perennial borders.

General culture: Astilbes should be planted in sites that have fertile, moist, well-drained soil. While the plants will tolerate morning sun, this perennial thrives in the semi-shade. During the dry periods of the summer, the plants will require watering. These vigorously growing plants can be dug and divided about every three years. Fertilize them in the early spring and again during the fall with a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

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