Muddy Musings on Non-Gardeners / March 30, 2021

Muddy Musings on Non-Gardeners / March 30, 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about mud which eventually made me think of other things, including non-gardeners.

As we emerge from the longest, strangest, discombobulating, navel gazing winter of lockdown, spring has arrived. Warm and sunny weather is melting the snow and ice creating a slippery stew of mud and deep grooves on our dirt road destined to splatter whatever you are wearing or driving.  Mud becomes a constant consideration for all we do from the least messy way to walk to our mailbox, or the less treacherous route to drive. One day, anxious to get to my second Covid vaccine appointment, I drove faster than the 20 mph speed limit on our unmanageable road, and the mud took over. As I was about to veer off the road, I had just enough time to regain control while considering the irony of a head-on collision with a tree while en route to the life-saving jab.

But, there is great virtue to our muddy road in that it discourages other drivers who don’t reside on it from using it as a throughfare. Thus, we who live in this isolated, quiet, rural haven wouldn’t have it any other way. We ultimately love our mud.

While thinking about mud I recalled my first spring in this house.  My neighbor Mike told me roots were exposed on a particular tree and I needed to add soil to cover them. He pointed to a pile of soil that had been removed during construction suggesting that would do the trick.  A few days later armed with a shovel and wheelbarrow I headed to said pile. If you have never used a wheelbarrow, there is an art to it, especially on thawing and muddy grounds. There is also a logic to how much weight one can manage. This eluded me while trying to navigate the overloaded wheelbarrow down a slope - the wheelbarrow and I toppled over into a bath of mud. Definitively not a spa mud bath!


This is all to say that in thinking about mud and wheelbarrows it got me thinking that the call-to-action on the HNP website “start digging”  and the photo of me with that very same wheelbarrow may have no appeal to a vast number of people who don’t garden.

So, I say to all of you non-gardener, insect fearing masses that Homegrown National Park™ is not a call-to-action to GARDEN specifically!  It is a call to restore biodiversity with native plants however you choose to “get them planted”. Sure, you can do-it-yourself by gardening, but you can also donate native plants to friends who garden, you can raise money to plant native at your kid’s school, on the corporate grounds where you work, on your local golf course, on your street, or you can hire someone to plant on your property. There are myriad ways to be a vital part of restoring biodiversity without digging yourself. Don’t be surprised though if you find yourself seduced by nature and reaching for that shovel!

The jury is out on whether I’ve fully gotten the gardening bug but each spring I become more engaged in planting, watching the wildlife it attracts and pushing a wheelbarrow with far greater finesse than a few years ago. What is certain is that I am now a budding conservationist combatting the devastating consequences of loss of habitat and biodiversity by planting native plants and doing my best to encourage others to do the same. It’s fun, purposeful, rewarding and most of all - necessary.

You too can be an essential link in restoring vital ecosystem services we all need to survive. I am referring to clean air and water, flood and pest control, pollination, carbon sequestration and a healthy food web where plants rank number one in the food chain. All this is dangerously degraded due to loss of habitat. You can make a measurable difference.  You don’t need permission, you don’t need legislation, you don’t need a degree or certification to get native plants planted. Join us, the largest cooperative conservation project ever attempted. Get them planted, however you wish!

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