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30-Second Sustainability

February 10, 2009

Well, not quite 30 seconds- but I’m in the weeds this week. Apparently my winter “break” is truly over, since I have several designs in the queue and a large install in progress. Since I’ll be out in the field much of the week (enjoying the amazing weather!), my posts will be brief and will probably consist of lots of pictures.

Anyhow, the 30 seconds of sustainability: trees are great. Obviously they’re an excellent system for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but they can also improve your home’s energy efficiency. If your heat pumps are on the south or west side, shading them can cut as much as 18% from your utility bills! There’s also the tried-and-true method of using trees to enhance your home’s heating and cooling: plant evergreen trees as a windbreak on the north side, and shade trees on the south and west. I was talking with someone yesterday who commented that he’s benefitting from the fact that this is such an old idea, he’s reaping the benefits of decades-old trees that were planted around his home for this exact reason. Trees are also a good way of moderating the effects of stormwater. I know a lot of folks shy away from adding trees in their landscapes, out of fear of planting something too big. Well, that’s what landscape designers are for! Your local nursery is another good resource, but talk to the knowledgeable folks there- don’t just trust the tag. If you’re going to go it alone and do some research, be sure to look at several sources and consider whether or not they base their tree size on conditions in your part of the world. I’ve seen plant websites give such helpful guidelines as “grows 10 to 40 feet wide and 30 to 80 feet tall.” If you pick a number in that range and hope for the best, you may be disappointed. If that happens, I have a tree guy who’s pretty reasonable on removals.

There’s a great reason I’m thinking trees today. Stadler Nurseries is trying to encourage people to enhance the urban forest and plant more trees. To do so, they’re offering quantity discounts: 5 trees, save 5%; 10 trees, save 10%; 15 trees, save 15%; and 20 trees, save 20%. That’s a great deal, and I know they’ve also overwintered some great stock that is reasonably priced. If you’re in the market for trees, let me know and I can get you more specific information.

One more thing- my friend/colleague Paul and I were discussing garden coaching yesterday. Specifically, we were talking about the fact that everyone I talk to thinks it’s brilliant- but I’ve had fewer takers than I expected. He mentioned that perhaps because gardening is seen as a chore, people may not want to schedule someone to come out for a coaching session because that means they’ll have to work in the garden. What if they’d rather do something else?

That’s when it hit me- I’m not just a garden coach. I am your gardening personal trainer! That’s right! I remember back when I worked out with a trainer. There were days I really didn’t want to go to the gym, but I knew he was there waiting for me. After my workout, I was always glad I went. Garden coaching is the same way. If you schedule a session, you’ll improve your garden, learn some new skills, get a light to moderate workout, and you’ll be glad you did it. If you’re curious to learn more or you want to schedule a coaching session, send me an email or call me at 540-308-5411.

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