Greens bringing the word to gardening professionals


Speaking of conferences, I recently attended one given by the Chesapeake Conservation Landscapes Council’s, designed to give professionals in the gardening field more environmentally responsible ways to do their jobs, even awarding them continuing education credits for attendance.  All day and in four different rooms there were sessions covering development issues, the economics of low-impact development, community greening, rain
gardens, stormwater management, economics of native plant nurseries,
alternatives to traditional (and/or invasive) plants, stream
construction, eco-friendly lawns, and more.  Kudos to the organizers because the speakers were awfully good, the topics were all important, and these green advocates did lots of things right, like:

These advocates for various green initiatives were talking to gardening insiders – designers, installers, maintenance company owners – all boots-on-the-ground types who know the challenges of working with real, live plants out in the elements, and the equal challenges of convincing their customers of the righteousness of their message.  Examples:

  • Keith Tomlinson of Meadowlark Botanic Gardens advised against removing ivy in some highly modified areas coz it would cause erosion.  Heresy!  Also from Tomlinson, the statement that some native plants don’t do well in landscapes and there are sites, especially in urban areas, where no native plants will survive.
  • The speaker on the subject of alternatives to invasive plants, Phil Normandy of Brookside Gardens, was nervous and defensive about even being there.  He confessed to a hort
    slant, not native plant advocate perspective.  He even ventured that on the subject of invasive plants, "It’s time for some sanity."
    He proposed the term "Invasive" for plants that are actively out-competing, and "escaped plants" for plants that have been known to escape but may not pose
    threat, some of which are good for wildlife in our starved environment !!!
  • What’s his name (rich people’s gardens) showed us gardens with no native plants at all.  Is there still no native plant garden to show us??

One landscape architect I know whispered to me between sessions that he has yet to find a native evergreen groundcover or shrubs that do well in our area.