Eco-friendly garden ideas

March 16, 2009 5:04:31 PM PDT
From salvaged plant containers to recycled water, transform your backyard into a sustainable sanctuary.

Tips to make your garden more ecologically friendly from Andrea Hurd of Mariposa Gardening & Design in Berkeley:

Grow your own food

Even city dwellers who feel like they are constricted in their ability to grow their own food can grow a small portion of what they eat. The addition of fresh fruit and vegetables to your garden not only is wise for the environment, but also for your health.

  1. Consider a container garden full of lettuces and radishes.
  2. Or, perhaps plant a few kale, tomato, or herb plants in amongst the flowers in your perennial border.
  3. When planting new trees, consider a fruit or nut tree.
  4. A sustainable permaculture guild system installed by Mariposa Gardening & Design can enhance any edible gardening area for maximizing results and minimizing water use and pest maintenance.
Conserve water

Many steps can be taken to conserve water in the garden.

  1. Put the right plant in the right place. When water conservation is the goal, it is important to know the watering requirements of your plants. Adding a plant with high water requirements to a naturally dry area of the garden creates a need for increased supplemental watering.
  2. Plant Natives. Using plants native to your region as ornamentals gives the advantage of utilizing plants which are well adapted to natural rain cycles, so you water less.
  3. Mulch. A layer of 2" of mulch on top of the soil in between the plants will decrease surface evaporation.
  4. Recycle Greywater. Instead of adding it to your sewerage system, redirect the grey water you've used in the home from bathing, dishwashing and laundry so it can irrigate your garden. Greywater systems, such as a Living Fountain by Mariposa Gardening & Design, are a safe and efficient way to cut water usage considerably in the garden.
Event Info:
24th Annual San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
March 18 - 22, 2009 at new location: San Mateo Event Center

Fun activities, inspiring beauty, innovative ideas and products, industry experts and helpful tips for do-it-yourselfers await everyone at one of the world's largest and most celebrated spring garden festivals: The 24th annual San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, March 18-22 at a new location-the San Mateo County Event Center.

Kids and the young-at-heart alike will especially enjoy the colorful display gardens and learning more about carnivorous plants and insects. The "Sproutopia" area will have hands-on activities and workshops that are free with admission for families. Musical entertainment and special presentations are planned as well. Discounted ticket prices for youth and students make it affordable to bring the whole family. Children 5 and under are free.

More than 70 free seminars and workshops sponsored by Sunset offer more talent, more topics and more tips than any other horticulture happening in California. Also, 300 specialty shops will have demos and displays of the newest and hottest top-quality garden-related items available on the market today.

When/Where: Wednesday, March 18 through Sunday, March 22 at the San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 South Delaware St., San Mateo, 94403. The show is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. On Sunday, the show is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets: A one-day adult ticket purchased at the door is $20. Those who purchase a one-day advance adult ticket online (printable at home), by phone or at Bay Area nurseries through March 17 pay only $16. Students, 18-25, with valid student ID, $9 at the door. Youth (6-17) $4. Children 5 and under are free. A 2-day ticket is $29. Half-day tickets from 3 p.m. to closing Wed. through Sat. (Sun. at 2 p.m.) are $13 at the door. The All Show Pass allows unlimited access to the show, $65. Group tickets (20 or more tickets by arrangement), $15.

For more information:
(800) 569-2832
(415) 771-6909

About Andrea Hurd:
Since 1990 I have been gardening professionally. Over the years my love for the natural world has influenced the way I design. With an eye toward creating a naturally peaceful and beautiful gardens, the landscapes I create with my team are also customized to meet the needs of each client. Incorporating a passion for dry-laid stone walls and patios, the gardens that we design and build are long lasting and provide many ecological benefits to our urban areas.

She participated in the 2008 garden show and won a silver award for her "Al Aire Libre: Mediterranean Living" garden.

Mariposa Gardening & Design
Design, installation and maintenance
(510) 558-8429