The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
For this months letter I am just going to jump right in with what is on top of mind for me.
With all of the hot weather around the country lately (and for the foreseeable future) I have been wondering how can we change our minds about the landscape, particularly lawns.
Did you know lawns began as a sign of affluence - and to some degree still signify the same thing. It was a sign that one had enough land to grow all of the food they needed, have space for livestock and then the ‘extra’ space became the leisurely lawn, showing off how much was owned. With food scarcity, low quality food, poor soil and water quality all around us we can turn to our yards and gardens (of all sizes) to shift towards ecological landscapes - check out this recent NY Times article & pictures. Growing more food, wildflowers, herbs, or at very minimum a lawn that is suitable for your location is a very approachable way to start. There are many options for your microclimate (shady, sunny, dry, moist, windy) so you won't have a lack of plants to choose from.
For those who like a space to play with the kids or pets or have a backyard gathering now and then- you CAN still have a lawn, just one that provides more than a flat, green swath of a monocrop. The beloved lawn requires a vast amount of water, time and energy. Not to mention fertilizers, insecticides, fungicide, moss-killer and more. All of which remain in the environment for very long and cause serious health concerns.
So can we find the balance between creating a yard that we love and one that is not detrimental to the rest of the landscape long into the future?
Yes, you can!
An easy start is to look for more drought tolerant plants, native plants, multi-functional plants and try to move away from annuals. To go a step further let’s plan and plant for more diversity, healthier soils full of beneficial insects, worms, and fungi - add variation in plant sizes and heights, varied root depth, diverse flower shapes and colors for pollinators.
“A lot of people, when they hear a phrase like ‘ecologically sound landscaping,’ they think they are giving up something. But they are not — it only enhances the experience.” Mr. Darrel Morrison.
Some of the ways I have been working with clients to create more ecologically sound landscapes this year has been to design and build many pollinator gardens and edible/medicinal gardens (see a one year before and after below). These gardens incorporate many layers, functions, and resources while requiring as little input as possible. However, Low-maintenance is not no-maintenance!
I look forward to continuing the conversation about ecological landscapes with you - feel free to send me questions.
Stay healthy, happy and keep your hands in the soil!!
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Since time immemorial our ancestors have lived, told time, fell in love, passed down stories and tended the gardens by the light of the moon. I would like to offer the opportunity for you all to learn more and engage with our only true and beloved satellite while digging in the soil and while walking other paths of your lives.
Please join me in honoring the moon by accepting and celebrating what she has to offer. I look forward to learning more with all of you.
For more background information visit and bookmark the blog webpage or July 2021 post for details.
~ How does it work - different phases of the moon provide different energies for working in the garden (and all aspects of our lives) to support a specific task or goal. This is related to but not exactly the same as planting by Astrological days.
~ Where are we now?
Last month I shared a bit about the first quarter, a time to think of new things when in the waxing phase. Please refer back to the post for details as needed.
Now we are coming up on the full moon of August, the month of harvest, gratitude and trust. As the days pass from full towards the last quarter this is waning. It is a time of Culmination; Complete and Fulfill existing projects or tasks, with movement towards dissemination.
~ How to apply this in the garden?
In the garden you will begin planting root vegetables and some bulbs for next spring. As for harvest you may be in the thick of berries, tomatoes and flowers!
After you spend some time with your hands in the soil, return to your garden journal and write a few things (by the light of the moon perhaps) that you are grateful for and that you trust in for this next moon phase.
August Moon Garden Plant Favorites:
White and/or pink Campion
For additional planting suggestions see the pro-tip section below.
Sources and Resources:
Planner for a Magical 2021 (my most favorite day planner)
The Moon Book by Sarah Gottesdiener
Online links for reference - Shop local, Shop small businesses!
I do not receive compensation for any affiliate links in email or on website.
Moon Phases and their associations.
There are four primary phases, in some resources you may see as many as 9. Please note this list of associations or attributes is not exhaustive, only a foundation to get us started on this journey together.
First Quarter - Take Action, Energy, Let things In
Full - Culmination, Complete and Fulfill
Last Quarter - Banishing, Let things Go
Waxing is the time between new & full; the first quarter
Waning is the time between full & new; the last quarter*
Remember these apply to all aspects of life not just in the landscape.
Ready for a garden refresh? Need design help? Not sure where to start?
Book a virtual consultation today. Eco-Restore provides consults that follow the methods of Gardenary’s Garden Coach Society.
Start now to begin planning your Spring gardens, yes spring. We will continue working on these through October. Remember I am in the Pacific Northwest in USDA zone 8; if you are looking for help in another zone or region check out the directory of amazing consultants.
September Pro- Tip
Get your hands dirty with posts, tips and offers by visiting the blog
The Bee's Knees - News You Can Use.
Remember Tips are generally for zone 8a-b in western WA. If you have specific questions or would like a specific topic covered, contact me.
~ Check for powdery mildew (squash, grapes, roses, snowberry, currants). A fungal pest that affects stressed plants and causes unsightly damage. Preventative measures include: building healthy soil, selecting resistant varieties, and successional planting. Try organic spray of garlic + water + insecticidal soap
~ Add compost to heavy feeders such as cucumbers, squash, broccoli, eggplant
~ Sow outdoors throughout August: beet family (Amaranthaceae) - spinach, Swiss Chard; mustard family (Brassicaceae) - collards, kale, turnips for greens; sunflower family (Compositae) lettuce, escarole, endive
~ Water; regular but deep watering should give each plant 1-2 gallons per week. Try to minimize any overhead sprinklers and use drip, soaker hoses or tree bags. Also water heat loving plants in the morning and cool crops in the evening. (Note what plants need to be moved for next year)
~ To pinch or not to pinch? (AKA cut with sharp, clean pruners)
-- Yes, pinch - Annuals that flower on multiple branches, perennial repeat bloomers.
Examples: Amaranth, Basil, Cosmos, Dianthus, Snapdragon, Sweet pea, Zinnia
-- No, don't pinch - Annuals with single stems, plants that have useful or interesting seed heads.
Borage, Calendula (harvest flowers for home remedies + leave some to seed), Celosia, Flax, Nasturtium, Sunflower
~ Have a specific question? Book a 60 - min phone consultation to start growing your best garden yet!