MA: WaterWise Landscaping to Fight the Water Crisis and Drought


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MA: WaterWise Landscaping to Fight the Water Crisis and Drought

  1. 1. The Newsletter of The Ecological Landscaping Association Vol. 9, No. 3 Fall 2002 Water by Robert Hsin We hope you find the content of this special water issue valuable as reference and incentive ater has historically been water supply, much of which is locked droughts, extinction of native plantsW viewed as the source of life in almost all humancultures, and with good reason. Theorigins of civilization have always in the polar ice caps1. This false con- ception has led to extremely unsus- tainable modern methods of water management to provide for our urban and animals, water contamination, and depletion of freshwater reserves. In addition to these direct environ- mental problems, the processes ofbeen closely tied to large bodies of centers. extracting, storing, distributing andwater. The Yellow River in China, heating water is also energythe Euphrates in Persia, and the intensive. Hence sustainableNile in Egypt enabled those early “The highest good is like water. water management must consid-empires to flourish. However, Water gives life to the ten thousand er both watershed protectionour urban centers today are far things and does not strive. and water conservation.more populated and requiremuch more water than these early It flows in places men reject Protecting the watershedcivilizations. The abundance of and so is like the Tao.” The site’s natural watershed iswater on the globe has given —Excerpt from the responsible for providing watermankind the false conception of to the environment. Managingfresh water as an infinite resource. Tao Te Ching, chapter 8 this watershed sustainably canIn fact, freshwater comprises enhance the natural habitat, con-only 3 percent of the earth’s total Understanding the earth’s natural serve water, and provide long term water cycle and the land’s watershed water storage and flood protection. are the keys to sustainable water within: management. The process is relatively Water sources Editor’s two cents. . . . . . . . . . . . 2 simple to explain, in contrast, the Water sources are primarily drawn U.S. suffers under drought . . . 5 effects of our alterations—even minor from groundwater (underground Water-conserving practices . . . 6 ones, are extremely complex. In short, wells and springs), and surface water Rain garden plants. . . . . . . . . . . 7 the sun evaporates water into the (lakes, rivers, and streams). Conver- Wise watering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 atmosphere, forming it into clouds. sion of saltwater into freshwater is Do the right thing?! . . . . . . . . . . 9 The water is then released back to also possible, but the difficulty and U.S., highest wastefulness . . . 10 the earth in the form of precipitation energy intensity of this process makes Handbook of water use where it flows through the land, it a viable solution only in very limited and conservation . . . . . . . . . 11 supplying all the life forms before areas. The main objectives are to pro- ELA news. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 returning to the rivers, lakes, and tect these water sources from contam- BOD profiles cont’d. . . . . . . . . 14 oceans, where the cycle is repeated ination and ensure the natural replen- Gleanings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 again. The path of the water along ishing of them. Protecting the water- Darke book review . . . . . . . . . 18 the land is defined as the watershed. shed therefore, becomes the highest Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Man’s interventions to this water- priority in sustainable water manage- Resources . . . . . . . . . . back cover shed has led to many environmental ment. problems including, flooding, Water continued on page 3
  2. 2. “Gramma said when you come on something good, first thing to do is share it with whoever you can find; EDITOR’S TWO CENTS that way the good spread out where no telling it will go. Which is right.” —Little Tree in The Education The water crisis is here of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter Water. H2O. Three atoms, uniquely joined, form a large part of the basis for life on Earth. On the planet we call home, 71 percent of whose surface is covered with the stuff, water plays an essential role in nearly every aspect of life and is capable of astounding feats. That it is a substance less dense as a solid than a liquid allows ice to float (no fun skating on the bottom of a pond). With enough volume and time, it can carve a Grand Canyon. It comprises the bulk of most living things. The Ecological Landscaper Biochemical processes occur mostly in an aqueous environment, whether is published by the Ecological within the walls of a cell, in the soil under our feet, or in the vast oceans. Landscaping Association (ELA). Seemingly abundant, essential for life, and long taken for granted, our Subscriptions are a benefit water supplies—fresh, readily available, clean water—are now declining of membership in ELA. For more or threatened on an ever-widening scale. The total amount of water in the information about ELA, write to: global system (roughly 326 million cubic miles1) doesn’t significantly ELA change (your afternoon tea could be made with Cleopatra’s bath water), 60 Thoreau Street, #252 but its distribution, quality, and availability do. Concord, MA 01742-2456 Changing weather patterns (likely, at least in part, due to human activ- Or check our Web site at: ity), overuse, inefficiency and mismanagement, political upheaval, and, recently, even commercial commodification of water supplies have pro-(Members section password: ecopost) duced situations where water crises are now occurring, spreading, orTalk to us. We welcome your looming in many parts of the world.2comments, letters, articles, ideas, A sampling of the current state of affairs is sobering:and opinions. Address all newslet- • About 20 percent of the world’s population (more than a billion people)ter correspondence, submissions,and address corrections to: Nick do not have access to safe drinking water.Novick, 6 Meadowbrook Lane, • Roughly 5.3 million deaths per year are attributable to unsafe water.Ashland, MA 01721; (508) 881-1517 • 80 percent of diseases in the developing world are caused by(phone/fax); contaminated water. • Global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, more than twiceSend all other ELA business to theaddress above. the rate of the population.The ELA board meets throughout • More than half the world’s wetlands were destroyed in the lastthe year in various locations in century.eastern Massachusetts. All members And lest one think that water problems are confined only to countriesare welcome. Contact us for specific in the developing world, or to traditionally arid regions, note recent newsdates and locations. headlines such as “U.S. faces day of reckoning; even traditionally wet ELA Board of Directors areas run out of water as sprawl, global warming take toll.”3 In Florida, President: Kathy Sargent-O’Neill overdrawn ground and surface waters are becoming briny as seawater Vice President: Chris O’Brien infiltrates. In 2001, more than half of Kentucky’s counties ran short of Treasurer: Sue Storer water or were on the verge of shortages before a rainy period broughtRecording Secretary: Frances Clark relief. In northeast Kansas, water is becoming so scarce that consideration M.L. Altobelli James Marzilli is being given to a $200-million pipeline to bring water from the Missis- Tom Akin Nick Novick sippi River. Nancy Askin Chris O’Brien Don Bishop Tom Sheehan A number of towns face running out of water in a decade or two not Barbara Keene Tom Smarr only in the arid southwest (El Paso, San Antonio, and Albuquerque), but Andrea Knowles Diane Syverson also in other parts of the country. Here in New England, in the late 1990s, Bob Levite many rivers had average monthly flows lower than they had in decades, Administrative Assistant: and water levels in in-ground wells were also at record lows. In Massa- Pat MacAlpine chusetts, the combination of water withdrawals for public water supplies and extended drought reduced sections of the Ipswich River to a series of Newsletter Editorial Director: Nick Novick isolated, stagnant pools during the summer months in a number of recent Production Editor: Joy Buslaff 2
  3. 3. Water continued from page 1 In general, groundwater sources are the cleanest and most energy-efficient source since it is often local, requires very little treatment, and is easily extracted. However, groundwateryears. This past summer, many towns and cities instituted water restric- reserves can easily be overused andtions or bans to conserve supplies. contaminated. To protect ground- As a culture, we still often display a stunning lack of understanding water reserves from contamination,of and appreciation for water (to the point where the U.S ranks worst in they should be kept at least 50 feetthe world in water use efficiency; see article, page 10). Even in the midst deep and 200 feet horizontally fromof serious droughts, TV weather forecasters refer to imminent rain as surface water2.“trouble,” or a “problem.” Lawn sprinklers on auto-pilot apply waterwhen it’s raining. Leaky pipes in municipal water systems result in flow Nature and water flowlosses of as much as 30 percent in some places. The list goes on.… Modern methods of water flow Our collective awareness of and respect for water need to take giant management are dependent onleaps forward if we are to protect this indispensible resource for future technology. Mechanical pumps andgenerations. steel and concrete materials are the Water can’t be taken for granted in our landscape work any more so common tools. This technology isthan that for other uses. Water falling onto a site, collecting on it, or flow- extremely energy intensive and ising through it needs to be treated as the valuable resource and essential often detrimental to the environment.element of the ecosystem that it is. We need to seek and take advantage of Controlling the flow of water can eas-opportunities to use water to build ecological assets such as water gardens ily be accomplished by letting natureof various types. Irrigation water needs to be properly applied to avoid do the work with no energy expendi-waste. Landscape design should take water into account, as should plant tures.choices. Often referred to as landform engi- In this issue of the Ecological Landscaper, we take a broad look at some of neering, its primary goal is to manip-the ways water issues impact our landscape work, give some advice on ulate and enhance the natural flowhow to use water wisely, and offer specific techniques to limit water use. of water to improve the site’s abilityProtecting all our resources, including water, will take everyone’s to catch, hold, and absorb water.participation. ■ —Nick Novick The site’s topography can be used to guide water through constructedNOTES: swales and depressions. Roots of trees1 One cubic mile equals in excess of one trillion gallons. retain soil more efficiently than con-2 In an attempt to head off the growing trend toward the commodification of crete. Certain plants and micro-organ- water (private companies taking ownership of water supplies and treating water isms can be used to filter out bacteria, as just another commodity to be sold for the highest possible price), the UN has toxins, and heavy metals from sewage taken the unprecedented step of declaring water as a public good, a human right run-off, in effect, acting as a waste- and “a limited natural resource and a public commodity fundamental to life and water treatment system. health.” For more see article at < 01.htm>. Swales and contour trenches3 Published Aug. 12, 2001, in the Toronto Star; full article at <www.common Subtle alterations to the site such as> construction of swales and contour trenches is an effective method ofSOURCES: collecting and guiding water to stor-BBC, United Nations, World Water Council, New York Times, U.S. GeologicalSurvey age areas or distributing the water back to the site. Water can be guided into vegetated areas such as wetlands and forests or storage basins such as BOXED FACTOIDS throughout this issue were collected from the following retention ponds. These depressions sources: U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, UNESCO, U.S. EPA, National should be lined with sand or gravel Geographic, Mass. Dept. of Food and Agriculture, Rocky Mountain Institute, and filled with water-harvesting Maryland Dept. of the Environment, Los Angeles Times, Introduction to Plant plants which slow down water Biology (Stern), National Parks Service, “Environmental Effects of movement, cleanse the water, and Manufacturing Computer Components” by Elaine Tso. assist the land in absorbing the water. Water continued on page 4 3
  4. 4. Water continued from page 3 water from dishwashers, laundry Depending on the location, it is possi- machines, and showers). ble to provide enough water, includ-Retention systems ing potable water, for all the needs of Stormwater retention systems Water-efficient landscaping the community. In Hawaii, for exam-provide a more environmental and It is plainly evident from all the ple, rainwater provides all the wateraesthetic alternative to conventional previous principles and guidelines needs for 25,000 people5.drainage systems which often wash that site design and landscaping areaway stormwater, preventing it inherently linked with water. Water- Wastewater reusefrom replenishing the site. Retention efficient landscaping therefore, has an Wastewater comes in two forms,systems store runoff water to be enormous impact on the ability of a graywater, which comes fromreleased slowly and/or absorbed into development to save water. Selection showers, laundry machines, and dish-the ground. The soil used in these of plant materials which require less washers; and blackwater, which is thesystems must be permeable with in- water, as opposed to exotic species sewage from toilets. In most cases,filtration rates of at least 27 inches per which tax water supplies, is a priority. potable water is used for all thesehour 3. These systems retain the water In this case, selection of indigenous purposes, when it is only necessaryon the site and provide flood protec- plants is often the solution. The use for drinking and cleaning purposes.tion. With some attention to design, of exotic species in arid regions, such Reusing graywater for flush toiletsthese systems can also be made into as Kentucky Bluegrass which requires and landscaping can provide enor-attractive parks, using the retention enormous amounts of water, is just mous savings of potable water. Build-“pond” as a focal point. not sustainable. Indigenous species ings can be designed or retrofitted to exist because they are able to live allow for separate drain lines toWater conservation in the area’s climate and therefore accommodate this strategy. There are many examples of waste- require only the amount of water that Conventionally, wastewater isful water practices in American cities the environment can supply. treated in expensive, energy-intensivewhich could easily be improved. In Watering plants during evening treatment plants, and eventuallythe city of Los Angeles, for example, hours is a much more sensible alter- dumped into our rivers, lakes, andit is estimated that 50 percent of home native to watering during daylight oceans. Despite this, over 2,000water usage is spent on maintaining hours when the sun evaporates much beaches in the U.S. were closed in 1991lawns and gardens4, most of which of the water. Water irrigation timers due to sewage pollution problems6.are not indigenous to the semi-arid are available on the market which Wastewater can be treated and reusedclimate of Southern California. In fact, assist in more efficient watering of for irrigation and even potable pur-Los Angeles’ watershed map extends plants. Reducing the size of lawns is poses through biological wastewaterinto 11 states to provide the water also an effective method of conserving treatment such as wetlands. Thisneeds for just one city. Much water water. serves two purposes, it saves water,demand could be reduced simply by and it recycles the pollutants in theusing common sense in landscaping, Rainwater collection waste as food for the biological treat-while potable water usage could be Once widely used before the 1950s ment system. In most cases it is also agreatly reduced by reusing treated in the U.S., this strategy is still applied more economical alternative to con-wastewater and graywater (used in many areas around the globe. Col- ventional treatment facilities. ■ lected rainwater from cisterns and catchbasins can be used to provide for (This is a chapter excerpted from landscaping needs and can even be Principles and Guidelines for Sustainable WATER FACTS treated to be used as potable water. Community Design; A study of sustain- • Amount of water in the The rainwater is usually collected able design and planning strategies in atmosphere at any given from rooftops and then stored in North America from an urban design moment: 3,100 cubic miles cisterns and catchbasins for later use. perspective.) • Percent of all fresh water that figure represents: .001 ENDNOTES: • Depth of coverage if all 1 National Park Service. Guiding Principle of Sustainable Design (Department of Interior: Denver, Colo., 1993) atmospheric water fell to earth 2 Ibid. at once: 1 inch 3 John Tillman Lyle. Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development (John Wiley and • Average daily precipitation Sons: New York, N.Y., 1994). on the continental U.S.: 30 4 Julia Russell, “Xeriscape” ed. Bob Walter, and Lois Arkin. Sustainable Cities (EcoHome inches (4 cubic miles) Media. Los Angeles, Calif., 1992) pp 140. 5 Dianna Barnett and William Browning. A Primer on Sustainable Building (Rocky NOTE: one cubic mile equals one Mountain Institute: Snowmass, Colo., 1995). trillion gallons (more or less) 6 Larry Stammer, “Sewage Forced Closure of 2,000 Beaches in 1991” (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 1992). 4
  5. 5. "Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. Its called rain."—Michael McClary U.S. suffers under drought by Randolph E. Schmid, Associated PressWASHINGTON (Sept. 13)—Con- Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Asheville, N.C., said the averagefronted by parched lawns and with- and Nevada. It was the second driest global temperature for combined landered fields, few Americans will be 12 months in South Carolina, Georgia, and ocean surfaces during June-surprised to learn that the summer Maryland, Delaware, and Wyoming. August was 0.8° above the 1880-2001of 2002 was hotter and drier than The Climate Center said there was long-term mean, the third-warmestnormal. some drought relief in the Northeast such period since recordkeeping For the record, the National Cli- during the spring and early summer, began in 1880.matic Data Center reported Friday but a return to below-average rainfall Summer was marked by numerousthat June through August was the during July and August led to wors- extreme weather events throughoutwarmest summer since the 1930s ening drought there. the world, including more than 100and drought affected about half the Moderate to extreme drought deaths across Europe as heavy rainfallcountry. covered more than 45 percent of the caused devastating floods in the The average temperature for the 48 contiguous United States during each Czech Republic, Germany, Austria,contiguous states this summer was of the past three months, the agency Slovakia, Russia, and Romania.73.9°F. said. Monsoon rains led to hundreds of That’s 1.8° warmer than normal and By comparison, the most wide- deaths in northeastern India andthe third hottest on record. Warmest spread drought on record occurred in Bangladesh, and heavy rainfallwas 1936 and second was 1934. July 1934 when 80 percent of the con- brought severe flooding to central The report comes just a day after the tiguous United States was in moderate China. ■National Weather Service forecasted to extreme drought. And the centercontinuing dry conditions for much of pointed out that studies of tree rings This and other AP stories in this issue arethe country through winter. Only the indicate there have been worse reprinted by permission of AssociatedSouthern tier of states are expected to droughts in the past. Press. Copyright 2002 The Associatedbe wetter than normal. “The severity of the 1930s drought Press. The information contained in the The data center, part of the National was likely surpassed by the drought AP news report may not be published,Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis- in the 1570s and 1580s over much of broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distrib-tration, said no state was significantly the western U.S. and northern Mexico, uted without the prior written authoritycolder than normal in summer and which lasted several decades in parts of The Associated Press.many were much warmer than aver- of the southwestern U.S.,’’ NOAAage. reported. There was much below-average While the costs of this year’s WATER FACTSrainfall in 29 states, while the onlywetter-than-average states were drought are not yet known, it has diminished water supplies that led • Total amount of earth’s atmospheric, surface, andWisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and to the need for water restrictions in ground water: 326 million cubicNorth Dakota, plus parts of Texas many cities, contributed to an active milesand Florida. Heavy rainfall eased drought but wildfire season and produced extremely difficult farming conditions. • Percentage of total mass of the earth accounted for byled to severe flooding in southern The National Center for Atmos- oceans: .02and central Texas in early July withdamage estimates reported as high as pheric Research in Boulder, Colo., reported Thursday that by the end • Percent of earth’s water which is fresh water: 2.5-3$1 billion. Strong thunderstorms alsobrought widespread flooding to west- of August, 6 million acres of mostly forest—an area roughly the size of • Proportional amount of available fresh water if all theern Minnesota and North Dakota and New Hampshire—had been con- world’s water were reduced toresulted in hundreds of millions of sumed by flames across the United a gallon: 1 teaspoondollars in damage in crop losses inJune. States. That’s double the annual aver- age in wildfire damage with costs • Percent of freshwater which is tied up in glaciers and polar In many areas, the drought extends estimated at $1.5 billion so far, and ice: about 75back years. Indeed, the 12 months that large fires still burn in the West. • Percent in groundwaters: 30ended with August were the driest onrecord for six states: North Carolina, In its summer report, the National Climatic Data Center, located in • Percent in surface waters: .3 5
  6. 6. "We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one."—Jacques Cousteau A quick review of some water-conserving practices for landscapingDesign Plant selection and planting Irrigation Do a thorough site analysis to deter- To minimize the need for ongoing Check systems at least once a yearmine water-related characteristics of watering, choose plants based on how for proper operation.the site. well their need for water matches the Most plantings need about one inch Preserve as much of the existing, prevalent site conditions. of water per week. On clayey soilsdesirable, native plants as possible. Plants native to a region generally with slower infiltration rates, dividedIncorporate natives and appropriate are well adapted to those conditions applications will help prevent waternonnatives which are not invasive or and will need little supplemental loss due to runoff.have heavy water demands. watering once established. Water needs vary during the grow- Consider on-site water as a valuable Consider the eventual height of the ing season. Ideally, irrigations systemsresource. Try to reframe drainage plant at maturity. Will it provide will be adjusted throughout the sea-“problems” as unexpected supplies essential shading? son.of free water. Plan systems to utilize Avoid planting too closely. Allow-excess water. ing adequate space between plants Lawns Plan shade into the design. Shade will minimize competition for water. Leave clippings to add organic mat-trees block sun from reaching soil, When appropriate for the chosen ter to soil.lowering soil temperatures, and plants and economically feasible, For most of the growing seasonreducing evaporative water loss. incorporate adequate organic matter mow turf high, at least 2.5 inches, andCooling effects from leaf transpiration into the soil to increase the capacity of as high as 3.5 inches; even higher isare also significant. Consider other the soil to hold water. In cases where possible in areas where a “trimmed”shade-providers such as espaliers, amending soil on a large scale is look is not important.arbors, fences. impractical, consider plants which Unless prepared to increase water- Note prevailing winds and plan grow well naturally on “poorer” soils. ing during hot summer months, allowwindbreaks to reduce evaporative lawns to go dormant then. There maylosses from wind. Maintenance be some benefit to a very light, daily Plan zones of water use. Some areas Maintaining an adequate mulch watering (.1 inch) to cool the lawnsuch as vegetable gardens and beds layer on planting beds helps to mod- and prevent heat stress. Once temper-near hardscape areas may need more erate soil temperatures and reduce atures moderate in the fall, lawnswater than other areas. Group plants evaporation. growing in healthy soils with ade-according to water needs to simplify Water needs for newly planted quate organic matter will recoverwatering, should it be needed. trees, shrubs, and perennials are relatively quickly from all but the Consider reducing or eliminating higher than for plants which are well most severe droughts.lawn areas, especially in locations established. Watering every few days Select turf seed species and varietieswhere the existing site characteristics may be needed during excessively hot based on site conditions. Some fescuesare not favorable for turfgrass. For periods. Each application of water are more drought tolerant than othercool-season grasses in the north, full should reach to the bottom of the root types, such as bluegrass.sun on a south-facing slope and poor zone. Seed new lawns in late summer orsoil will provide an annual challenge Avoid fertilizing during periods of early fall to ensure best chance of suc-that a lawn is not likely to overcome. stress, including drought. cess and minimize need for supple-Limit lawn to where it will be used, Experiments have shown that appli- mental watering. Newly seeded lawnssuch as for play areas. cations of seaweed (kelp) extract can need be watered only enough to keep Consider native grasses and wild- help plants tolerate and recover from seed damp by frequent applications offlower meadows for a low-mainte- drought and other stresses. small amounts of water. ■nance alternative in areas where a —Nick Novicklawn would serve no practical use.Once established, properly chosenmeadow plants will survive the “Water sustains all.”—Thales of Miletus, 600 B.C.harshest of droughts. 6
  7. 7. “Rain does not fall on one roof alone.”—proverb from CameroonRain treesgarden Acer rubrum (Red Maple), Alnus (Alder), Amelanchier (Serviceberry), Betula nigra (River Birch), Celtis laevigata (Southern Hackberry),plants Chionanthus virginicus (Virginia Fringetree), Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green Ash), Larix laricina (Tamarack), Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum),In some cases, it may be difficult orimpractical to solve drainage “prob- Nyssa sylvatica (Sour gum), Platanus acerifolia (London Plane),lems”by diverting or reducing the Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen), Quercus bicolor (Swamp Oak) andwater flowing into areas of a property. Q. palustris (Pin Oak), Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress),On some properties, water may collectat certain times of the year, or after Thuja (Arborvitae)heavy rains. This can result from soilswith a large clay content, surfacerunoff patterns, roof water accumula-tion, etc. It may not be easy or practi- shrubscal to solve these drainage “problems”with solutions such as underground Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry), Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush),drainage, dispersion, or other meth- Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet), Cornus alba sibirica (Tartarian Dogwood),ods. In some of these instances, a “rain C. amomum (Silky Dogwood), C. sanguea (Bloodtwig Dogwood), C. sericeagarden” may be one solution. Plants (Redosier Dogwood), Dirca palustris (Leatherwood), Ilex cassine (Dahoonadapted to occasional inundation can Holly), I. glabra (Inkberry), I. verticillata (Winterberry), I. vomitoria (Yauponbe installed to create a garden or bedin what otherwise might be consid- Holly), Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), Leucothoe fontanesiana (Droopngered problem areas. By making slight Leucothoe), Lindera benzoin (Spicebush), Myrica cerifera (Southernchanges in grading, water can be col- Waxmyrtle), M. pennsylvanica (Bayberry), Nemopanthus mucronatuslected into selected spots. In nature, plants which grow on (Mountain Holly), Rhododendron arborescens (Sweet Azalea), R. canadenseriver and stream banks and wet mead- (Rhodora), R. periclymenoides (Pinxterbloom Azalea), R. vaseyi (Pinkshellows are appropriate choices for rain Azalea), Rosa palustris (Swamp Rose), Sambucus canadensis (Americangardens, but some upland species canalso tolerate occasional periods of wet- Elder), Vaccinium (Blueberry), Viburnum cassinoides (Witherod Viburnum),ness. V. dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum), V. trilobum (Cranberry Viburnum) The mostly native trees, shrubs,and perennials listed at right (slightlymodified as taken from the November2002 issue of The Avant Gardener) will perennialsdo well in wet to occasionally saturat-ed soil conditions. (This is not a com- Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed), Aster novae-belgii (New Yorkprehensive listing.) Aster), Aster novae-anglie (New England Aster), Astilbe, Astrantia major Numerous grasses, sedges, andrushes will also do well in rain garden (Masterwort), Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), Eupatoreumconditions, as will many ferns includ- maculatum (Spotted Joe-Pye Weed), Filipendula rubra (Queen of the Prairie),ing Athyrium felix-femina (Lady Fern), Dicentra, Gentiana, Hemerocalis (Daylily), Hostas, Iris versicolor (NorthernOsmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon Fern,and Thelypteris novebotacensis (New Blue Flag), I. fulva (Copper Iris), Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie Blazing Star),York Fern). Suitable bulbs that will Lilium superbum (Turk’s Cap Lily), Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower),tolerate temporary flooding include Rudbeckia subtomentosa (Sweet Coneflower), Silphium, Stokesia laevisthe genera Canna, Camassia, Crinum,Eucomis, Hymenocallis, Zantedeschia, (Stoke’s Aster), Trollius (Globeflower), Veronicastrum virginicumand Zephyranthes. ■ (Culver’s Root) 7
  8. 8. most effective and efficient way. wax content, breaks down fairlyWise watering Understanding your soil type and its slowly compared to leaf mold, com- infiltration rate is essential to efficient post, and some other mulches—canMaking the best use watering. If your sprinklers are prevent water from reaching the soil.of applied water applying .5 inch of water per hour, So, how to apply the water? There only sandy soils and sandy loams are many different systems to do theby Cheryl Lowe and Nick Novick (infiltration rates of one inch and .5 job. Choosing a system will depend inch/hour respectively) can absorb on the area you need to water, whatWe all breathed a sigh of relief when everything that you apply. When you is being watered, your budget, etc.the first autumn rains began to fall apply that same rate to loam, half the If you need irrigation, here are someafter a summer of so much heat and water will run off, since infiltration options.drought. Perhaps you thought you rates for loam are approximately .25 Permanent, in-ground systems arewere off the hook. But implementing inch/hour). The infiltration rate is common for lawns. They are compli-water-wise landscaping practices even less if the site is sloped. Clay cated enough that professional instal-over the long term, not just when loam absorbs only .15 inches/hour.* lation is required, and the cost is rela-we are forced to do it, pays off both Useful tools to help in your quest tively high. These systems are mostecologically and economically. for water-wise gardening include a often set to go on for a certain period These practices can range from number of small containers (tuna or of time at set intervals, and there aredesign considerations to maintenance pet food cans work fine) to measure overrides available which turn thetechniques to appropriate plant selec- water as it is being applied, a soil system off when it is raining. Thetion. Effective design might mean probe, and a shovel. sensors need to be checked regularlydecreasing lawn area or clustering Although mulches are efficient at to work properly.plants so they not only shade and preventing water from evaporating A common mistake is to set theprotect each other from desiccating from the soil surface, they can also be system to run frequently for shortwinds, but also accommodate distinc- a barrier to water absorption if they periods of time. This results in shal-tive irrigation cycles. Maintenance dry out, or, if they are applied too low water penetration into the soil,techniques include mulches; deep, heavily. Last August, I (Cheryl) took and shallow-rooted turf. Applyingbut less frequent watering; adding the time to compare water applica- one inch of water per week is a good,organic matter to soils; or avoiding tion rates to depth of moistened soil rule-of-thumb guide; this can bepruning, fertilizing, or planting in in several different situations (sun, applied in split applications of awater-stressed areas. When selecting shade, loam, sand, etc.). The sites had half inch every few days. The exactplants, remember that less stress not been watered all summer, so the amount needed will depend on soilmeans more resistance to disease and soil was bone dry. In a loamy soil, I and grass type, temperature, etc.pests, so select species adapted to the applied two inches of water over 5.5 In general, unless they are adjustedenvironmental conditions of your hours using an oscillating sprinkler. regularly, such automatic sprinklerssite. The soil was moist down to an 8-inch tend to waste large amounts of water With all other measures taken, depth, but only where the soil was because they fail to compensate forthere still may come a need to water. not protected by a dry, 3-inch layer changing conditions.At that point, the goal is to get water of woodchip mulch. With the mulch, Smaller lawns can be watered withto the plants in your landscape in the the water reached only 1 inch into the with oscillating or impulse sprinklers soil, as it took most of the water to attached to the end of a garden hose. moisten the mulch first. In a similar The inconvenience of setting these up WATER FACTS experiment in an uncultivated wood- and putting them away every time land site, a 2-inch layer of fine forest they are needed is compensated by • Percent of all fresh water duff absorbed over 4 inches of water, the low initial cost and the ability to available for plants: .001 and no moisture reached the soil. In more easily apply water only as it is • Average percentage of fresh a nearby test spot (sandy soil and .5 needed. On the more expensive mod- plant weight contributed by water: 75 inch of forest duff) the soil was mois- els, there is usually some capacity to tened 8 inches into the soil. adjust the spray pattern. • Gallons of water utilized Because excessive mulch can pre- For trees, shrubs, and flowers, a by a typical hardwood tree to produce a pound of green vent water from reaching plant roots better option is a system which wood: 120 —or even the soil—it is important not applies water directly to the ground, to apply too much fresh mulch over as opposed to the aerial application • Gallons of water transpired incompletely decomposed, existing provided by sprinklers. Water by an average-sized, 200,000- leaf birch tree during a grow- mulch. Annual applications of many sprayed on foliage can contribute to ing-season day: 200-1,000 inches of mulch—especially bark conditions which lead to the develop- mulch, which, because of its high ment and spread of diseases, so, 8
  9. 9. other things being equal, it is better to “For many of us, water simply flows from a faucet, and we think little about it beyondavoid unnecessary wetting of foliage. this point of contact. We have lost a sense of respect for the wild river, for the complex(And, if you do have an in-ground workings of a wetland, for the intricate web of life that water supports.”system watering a mixed planting —Sandra Postel, Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcityin addition to the lawn, those areasshould be on a separate zone becausemuch less water is needed there than Do the right thing?!for the lawn.) (To water or not to water, that is the question) Two popular, on-ground systemsare soaker hoses and drip systems. Because of recent periods of drought, rules, but still justified his actionThe most common soaker hose is one beginning as early as last spring, a with, and I quote, “It was worth itmade of recycled rubber. The hose number of towns in eastern Massa- this one time, I would have spentweeps slowly from its entire length, chusetts have instituted some sort of more than $200 to replace the plantsand so, releases water very slowly to outdoor water-use restrictions. that I would have surely lost. I’mthe soil. They work well for fairly One of my landscape design clients glad I did it!”short runs (200 feet or less) and for lives in a town that had been on a This homeowner is a very con-level sites. Any slope of more than a total outside water ban for the last scientious gardener—he chose plantsfew degrees will result in little or no 18 months. He has spent many hours carefully for the site conditions,water reaching sections of the hose and dollars beautifying his property incorporated organic matter when heat the highest elevations in the run. with trees, shrubs, and perennials. planted, used soaker hoses to targetDepending on the length of the run He has a very small lawn that was water use carefully; even recycled hisand the pressure at the faucet, pres- mostly clover and crabgrass this sum- dishwashing water to water plants.sure reducers may need to be mer. He was resigned to relying on Was he right to water or not?installed at the beginning of the run whatever rain might come and the I guess the answer lies somewhereto help produce even weeping over dishpan water to “save” some of his between a rock and a hard place. ■the length of the hose. prized plant possessions yet again —Kathy Sargent-O’Neill Drip systems (Rain Bird is one pro- this summer.ducer) are a bit more expensive, but He had been a ban-abiding citizenmore versatile. A solid, plastic pipe for 18 months, but, in mid-August—(usually .5 inches in diameter) carries after six straight days of temperatures over or close to 100°, and with many WATER FACTSthe water. Wherever an emitter isneeded, a hole is poked, and any of a plants flagging to the point of nearly lying on the ground, or, worse, sport- • Percent of adult humanvariety of available emitter types is body weight contributed byinstalled. This allows application of ing crispy, brown leaves—he couldn’t water: 50-65 (70-75 in children)water right where it is needed. take it any longer. Under cover of darkness, he broke • Average daily householdChoices for emmitters include drip use of water per person in theand spray types in a range of flow the rules and turned the soaker hoses U.S.: 75-80 gallonsrates, so a high degree of precision is on in the hillside gardens which baked under full sun. The next day • Percent increase in thatpossible. Plus, the system can be amount over the past 30 years:adjusted or modified as conditions there were a few spots here and there 75change. where the earth looked darker from the moisture but there was no knock • Total daily U.S. water use For both types of drip systems, any (agricultural, industrial, house-sediment in the supply water can clog on the door; he had done it and he hold): 35 billion gallonsor slow the flow, especially for the was glad he did. He was so embold- ened by his previous evening’s guer- • In U.S., percent of all publicsoaker hoses which will eventually and private utility-suppliedget clogged by even the smallest sized rilla action that he moved the soakers water accounted for by house-particles. An inexpensive filter can farther down to water yet another holds: 47be installed to catch any sediment very crispy area, but, alas, the next morning the water police were at his • Percent of that which goespresent in the water. ■ to outdoor uses: 30-50 door to serve him with a $200 fine. The homeowner did seem a bit • Percent of outdoor water*from The Chemical-Free Lawn by use accounted for by lawnWarren Schultz, Chapter 6, Water remorseful as he was relating the irrigation: 30-40Wisdom story. He didn’t like to break theCheryl Lowe is the Horticulture Director “Children of a culture born in a water-rich environment, we have never really learnedfor the New England Wild Flower Society how important water is to us. We understand it, but we do not respect it.”and a former board member of ELA. —William Ashworth, Nor Any Drop to Drink, 1982 9
  10. 10. “In every glass of water we drink, some of the water has already passed through fishes, trees, bacteria, worms in the soil, and many other organisms, including people....Living systems cleanse water and make it fit, among other things, for human consumption.” —Elliot A. Norse, Animal Extinctions WATER FACTS U.S. rated highest • Gallons water required to produce a single serving of on wasteful water use lettuce: 6 by Sue Leeman, Associated Press • Gallons of water required LONDON—Some of the worlds “Water demand is increasing three to produce a single serving of steak: 2,600 richest countries—including the times as fast as the population growth United States and Japan—lag behind rate even though no new water can be • Gallons of water required some developing nations in making created anywhere on this planet,” said in the manufacture of semi- conductors and printed circuit the best use of water, according to World Water Council president Mah- boards in one personal a new grading system published yes- moud Abu Zeid. computer: about 12,000 terday [Dec. 11, 2002]. The Water Poverty Index assigns The United States was rated the up to 20 points in each of its five cate- worlds most wasteful user of water gories, meaning a country that meets by the first Water Poverty Index. the criteria in all five categories would CLIMATE STATS Finland was ranked highest on the have a score of 100. The highest-rank- • Warmest year in recorded index, which graded 147 countries according to resources, access, capac- ing country, Finland, has a Water Poverty Index of 78 points, while history: 1998 • Second warmest year in ity, use, and environmental impact. The rest of the top 10 were Canada, Haiti rates 35. Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Japan, and recorded history: 2002 • Third warmest year in Iceland, Norway, Guyana, Suriname, Austria, Ireland, Sweden, and Swit- Austria were rated tops in the capac- ity category, which defines a countrys recorded history: 2001 • Fourth warmest year in zerland. The 10 countries at the bottom of the ability to purchase, manage, and lobby for improved water, education, recorded history: 1997 • Number of years of the past index were: Haiti, Niger, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi, Djibouti, Chad, and health. The bottom five were Sierra Leone, 10 not in the top 10 warmest on record: 1 Benin, Rwanda, and Burundi. Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and the Issues raised by the index are to be Central African Republic—some of discussed in March at the World the worlds poorest nations. Water Forum in Japan. The United States was ranked 32nd …AND OTHER “The links between poverty, social overall in the index, but last in effi- DEEP THOUGHTS deprivation, environmental integrity, ciency. • Amount sea level has risen water availability, and health become “The U.S. is at a relatively low in the last 100 years: 6 to 8 clearer in the (index), enabling policy- position because of wasteful or ineffi- inches makers and stakeholders to identify cient water use practices in domestic, • Amount of water held in where problems exist and the appro- industry, and agriculture,” said and below earth’s mantle (top priate measures to deal with their William Cosgrove of the World Water layer), not including ground- causes,” said Caroline Sullivan, who Council. “This is illustrated by the fact water, suggested by recent led the team developing the Water that per-capita water consumption is studies: 5 to10 times the Poverty Index at the Center for the highest in the world.” amount on the surface Ecology & Hydrology in Wallingford, Japan ranked 34th, with a low score England. The center is part of the on environmental factors. British government-funded Natural The World Water Council is a non-“For all the darkness that presently Environment Research Council. profit, nongovernmental organizationconfronts us and our descendants, there One-fifth of the worlds population made up of 313 members, includingis no reason to give up. There is every in 30 countries faced water shortages UN agencies, other NGOs, and publicreason to take up the fight, because we in 2000, a figure that will rise to 30 and private groups. ■have within our grasp the power of the percent of the population, in 50 coun-people to force the right decisions.” tries, by 2025, according to the World This story ran on page A37 of the Boston —Jacques Cousteau Water Council based in Marseilles, Globe on 12/12/2002. Reprinted here by France. permission of Associated Press. 10
  11. 11. Sipping from Amy Vickers’ Handbook of Water Use and Conservation At $99.95, Vickers’ book would be ideal to stock in a Outdoor water use reference library or employed as a course guide. Its range The amount of outdoor is broad, looking at water conservation within the house- water use in a given region hold, in business, industry, and agricultural applications. or within a particular Reprinted on this page are excerpts from the section on customer group is usually landscaping. Vickers, a member of ELA, promotes the use correlated with four key of native plants and other sustainable practices. factors: climate, amount of rainfall, water rates and theConservation or efficiency LANDSCAPE IRRIGATION SCHEDULING total cost of water, and household income.…Onmeasures…can be grouped Efficient irrigation scheduling involves understanding a per-capita basis, outdoorinto two general categories: lawn and plant water needs and setting the frequency water use by apartment and duration of irrigations accordingly. Knowing when dwellers in multifamily (1) hardware and how much water is needed and adjusting irrigation units tends to be low or devices or schedules in response to changing plant and weather even negligible and is equipment characteristics is critical to efficient water use and typically much lower than optimal plant health. Determining how much and how that of residents of single- (2) behavior or often water is needed is site-specific.… family homes in a given management Lawns and landscapes are typically watered too often area when measured by and too long. Many irrigated lawns and landscaped practices areas can thrive on a watering schedule of once or twice household unit. Exceptions can include customers living a week for periods of no more than 15 to 30 minutes. in affluent multifamily“Odd/even” Less time is usually better than more. People some- complexes featuring largeirrigation times overwater when they see brown spots that they irrigated landscaped areas,schedules can assume were caused by insufficient water. This is not swimming pools, fountains,increase water use always the case. Brown spots can be caused by multiple and maintenance practices sources, including high salinity levels in the soil, over- involving water, such asCommunities sometimes application of lawn chemicals, nematodes, and animals.establish every-other-day sidewalk cleaning. In addition, overwatering can increase lawn and plantwatering schedules—for viruses, fungi, and insects—conditions that also createexample, during a drought Moisture sensors brown areas. During hot summer months or periods of—but watering schedules of drought, many homeowners and landscape managers Handheld tensiometersthis frequency are generally believe that the only way to keep lawns and plants and moisture sensors arediscouraged now because alive is to deluge them with water. Such practices not relatively inexpensive, areexperience has shown that only raise water bills but also increase runoff, plant available at lawn andthey often lead to overwa- diseases, root rot, brown spots, and mowing and garden stores, and give atering. Schedules based on maintenance costs. moisture reading when theodd/even house numbers Overwatering seems to be more common with single- probe is pushed into themay appeal to consumers family properties and other lawns and landscapes soil. Handheld sensorsbecause they are easy to that rely on automatic irrigation systems. Automatic are useful for people whoremember—e.g., residents irrigation systems are run by controllers programmed irrigate manually, eitherat even-numbered addresses to set the days, time of day, and length of time that with a hose or a sprinklermay use water outdoors on each irrigation valve or station will operate. When they turn on and off.Tuesday, Thursday, and programmed properly, the controller can boost water In-place moisture monitorsSaturday, and residents at efficiency by giving turf and plants just the right are used with automaticodd-numbered addresses amount of water, in just the right places, for the mini- irrigation systems. Theymay use water outdoors on mum amount of time needed. In reality, however, the also have a probe that isWednesday, Friday, and average water-use efficiency of automatic irrigation inserted into the ground,Sunday. However, home- systems is about 50 percent. In other words, for every plus a wire connectingowners under odd/even two gallons of water applied, one is wasted. them to an irrigation systemschedules sometimes controller.…Used properly,assume that they should Handbook of Water Use and Conservation: Homes, Landscapes, Busi- moisture sensors can boost nesses, Industries, Farms by Amy Vickers (WaterPlow Press, 2001) ISBNwater every other day, even 1-931579-07-5. Toll-free orders call 866-367-3300. More details about the irrigation water efficiencythough they didn’t before. book are available at and save water. ■ 11
  12. 12. ELA news PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Keeping things in order Making a list, lately checking it bership in ELA. The renewal letter both in the classroom and on the about four or five times a day! I will be mailed out soon, with the show floor and will showcase eco- don’t know about you all, but life new membership categories and logical products and services. This is has been in overdrive these days. For their benefits. Please review the a great opportunity to learn some- every “to do” that gets checked off, it information sheet enclosed with the thing new, renew old acquaintances, seems like two take its place. letter, update your member informa- and make some new ones. I’m not complaining, just realizing tion if necessary, and return it along MARCH that if I don’t write things down and with your check. Your support is ✔Attend the ELA round table “The check them frequently, all sorts of essential to the organization. Thank Great American Lawn; Alternatives things slip by, important things and you. and Cost Benefits,” on March 29. stuff I really want to do. I’ve been ✔ Check your mailbox in early SPRING told that memory is an age thing, but January for the brochure for the ✔ Read the first installment of I think—at the tender age of 53—that expanded, two-day, 9th Winter ELA’s “Guide to Healthy Land- it’s a busy thing! Anyway, I hope Conference. If you need extra copies, scapes,” a manual designed to pro- you all have had a very full and or need more information, visit our vide easily accessible information on prosperous year and that this list Web site to download what you ecological landscaping methods. will help you remember some of the need, or call the phone line (617) JULY 436-5838, with your request. things that are important to you, too, ✔ If you can plan ahead that far, so they don’t slip by: ✔Attend the ELA round table, think about attending the ELA “Designing the Landscape with The “Remember To Do” List Annual Meeting and Summer Water in Mind,” Jan. 8. (Call for a ANYTIME Forum which, typically, is held the brochure; registration is required ✔ Remember to renew our commit- third Wednesday of July. More for all round tables.) ment to be more ecologically mind- information will be available closer FEBRUARY to the date. ed in our landscaping endeavors. ✔ Remember to stop by the ELA We’re the ones who can make a dif- And, for the Down Time (is there table at New England Grows (Feb. 6- ference in what we do and how we really such a thing?), I’m sure you all 8). We’d love to see you and hear approach the many challenges that have lots of your own stuff to add to what you’ve been up to. we’ll be facing in the coming year. the list. ✔Attend the ELA round table, “Turf ✔ Check out the ELA Web page and Landscape: Keeping Water in Oh, just thought of one more very <www.ELA-ecolandscapingassn. Mind,” Feb. 12. important item to add, and it’s to org> for information about upcom- ✔Attend the ELA Winter Confer- wish you all a happy, healthy, pros- ing educational events and confer- ence and Eco-Marketplace sched- perous, and environmentally sound ences, links to other interesting Web uled for Feb. 28 and March 1, 2003. New Year. See, it’s good to check the sites (share your favorites with us), This two-day event will be held list at least twice…Happy New and ELA news updates. at the Boxborough Holiday Inn, Year! JANUARY Boxborough, Mass. This year’s event —Kathy Sargent-O’Neill ✔ Remember to renew your mem- features educational presentationsNEW MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES: To better serve growing network of ecologically minded colleagues. And,our members and support our growth, we have restructured the higher levels offer additional perks and provide ELAthe membership categories and rates, which had been with much needed support.unchanged for a number of years. This change will take We encourage you to renew or join at the highest leveleffect with the next renewal cycle in January 2003. that is comfortable for you. We will continue to work hard For nonprofessionals, homeowners, and others, the “asso- to make ELA valuable to you, and we are grateful for yourciate” level offers an easy way to support our mission and continued support. Watch for renewal forms in the mailprograms. The “professional” level provides benefits to help your business and to keep you connected to a vital, As always, we welcome your comments and input. 12
  13. 13. "We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields, and we ask that they teach us and show us the way."—Chinook Blessing 2002-2003 round table series: 2002 annual appeal considering water during dry times Thanks to everyone who has generously responded to ELA’sT his season’s round tables will focus on issues of water use, quality, and conser- vation in the landscape, especially in times of drought. annual appeal this fall. Contri- butions are still coming in, and ELA’s round tables are designed to provide for plenty of interaction among and we are grateful for your help. Inbetween both the audience and presenters. To this end, registration is limited to these challenging financial times,40, so be sure to call our phone line at (617) 436-5838 to request a registration form. outside funding sources have anFee is $25 for ELA members and $35 for non members. increasingly difficult time meet- Because of a number of scheduling issues, there is no round table scheduled ing all the requests they receive.for December. The first one will be in January. The schedule is as follows: While we will continue to pursue grants and other inputs, we January 8, 2003, 1:30-4 p.m. depend in large measure on Designing the landscape with water in mind member support to support our at the Broadmoor Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, Natick, Mass. programs and keep us movingSpeakers Peter Phippin, with the Merrimack Valley Planning Council, and Jean forward.Akers, of the Conway School of Landscape Design, will discuss the impact of If you haven’t yet responded,recent droughts and the consequences for water supplies. Other watershed issues it’s never too late. Contributionsand how to accommodate hydrologic functions in the design and planning of any amount are always wel-process will also be considered. Case studies and sample projects will be used to come and appreciated. Your tax-demonstrate practical, innovative development alternatives that preserve hydro- deductible contributions can belogic functions and ecological integrity. sent to ELA, 60 Thoreau Street February 12, 2003, 1:30-4 p.m. #252, Concord, MA 01742. Thank Turf and landscape; keeping water in mind you! at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Boylston, Mass. ELA receives grantLearn how to be part of the solution by incorporating environmentally sensitive ELA is proud to announce thattechniques in you business. Most of the techniques are easy to adopt; have imme- we are the recipient of a generousdiate, positive environmental benefits, and are based on common sense. (Speakers grant of $2,000 from the Cross-not yet finalized as we go to print.) roads Community Foundation. March 29, 2003, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. This is an extremely competitive The great American lawn year for funding and ELA was at Arnold Arboretum Hunnewell Building, 125 Arborway, one of eight organizations select- Jamaica Plain, Mass. (cosponsored by Arnold Arboretum) ed from 49 proposals. We areLisa Vernegaard, with the Trustees of Reservations and contributing author of grateful for the Foundation’s sup-Redesigning the American Lawn, and Tom Akin, assistant grounds superintendent at port of our mission and programsthe Arnold Arboretum and ELA board member, will provoke us to think about in the Metrowest (Massachusetts)why we—homeowners and landscape professionals—make the landscape choices service area. We plan to allocatewe do. Lisa will examine the history of lawns and the implications this “crop” has this money to “capacity build-on our water supply. Tom will demonstrate how lawns can be beautiful and ing,” that is, staff support andhealthy without using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and excessive irrigation. membership development.ELA retreats … but only for a day. In October, the of itself: What really constitutes “ecological landscaping”?ELA board held its annual retreat, this year at Massachusetts Where do we fit among other organizations? How are weAudubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and unique? How can we more clearly describe the organizationWildlife Sanctuary in Worcester. The full-day session with to prospective members and supporters?facilitator Rhua Stakely provided an opportunity to consider Intensive discussion, brainstorming, and summation ses-in depth specific issues that there isn’t sufficient time to take sions produced a lot of good thinking and output which weup during the regular board meetings. will continue to digest, refine, and integrate into our pro- This year, the focus was on sharpening ELA’s definition gram and materials in the coming months. 13
  14. 14. ELA news continuedMeet your Jim Marzilli new director Society; numerous symposia and con- ferences (including the excellent Nativeboard of I am in my sixth term in the Massa- Plants in the Landscape conference in chusetts House of Representatives, Millersville, Pa., the New Directions indirectors (continued) representing Arlington and West the American Landscape symposium inIn the last issue, we began to introduce the Medford. I maintain a 6,000-square- Pennsylvania and Connecticut, and, ofdiverse and eclectic members of our board foot, ecologically sustainable, suburban course, ELA’s own Winter Conference).of directors. Following are the descriptions garden with an emphasis on plants Despite a missing gene for businessfor the balance of the board. native to the East Coast. management, i’m currently running my I am active in a wide range of envi- own small landscaping design and ronmental policy issues. I serve on two installation business in eastern Massa- M.L Altobelli public-private partnerships organized chusetts. That i have yet to do any education committee chair, by the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife advertising for the business—but am asmanual and marketplace coordinator, Service, working to restore native busy as i want to be—attests to the steering committee, plant species and removing nonnative, growing demand for a different kind of continuing director invasive species. I initiated the Green landscaping service. I concentrate onI’ve been part of the ELA board since Streets, Green Cities program to restore “natural” plantings (meadows, wood-its inception. I’ve been most involved urban green areas using volunteers and land/shade gardens, native plants), butwith the educational component of native plants. I am active at the national also do a fair amount of lawn fertilityELA. I’m currently working on The level in urban forestry issues. and pest management, hardscape work,Guide to Healthy Landscapes and the new I am a member of the Board of Trustees of New England Wild Flower My motivation to enter the landscap- I run a small horticultural service Society and, now, the Ecological Land- ing field was based, in large part, on abusiness in north-central Massachu- scaping Association. I was named concern for the environment, and isetts. It includes design, installation, Environmental Legislator of the Year suppose one could say i even take anand maintenance of annuals, perenni- by the Environmental League of activist’s approach in my work when-als, trees, and shrubs. I love color and Massachusetts in 2001. ever i can. When possible, i try to viewvariety and I’m not fond of lawns! I clients’ properties as opportunities touse organic soil development as the restore part of the environment to a Nick Novick healthier of all of the gardens, but I newsletter editor,do not consider myself an organic land- The personal and professional con- steering committee, nections i’ve made through ELA havescaper and probably never will. My continuing directorclients do not care what I do as long as been invaluable in the growth of my I’ve been actively involved with ELA professional knowledge, and have ledthe gardens look great, and I prefer the for about six years now. My time in to some great friendships and acquain-flexibility of looking at all of the factors landscaping extends only a little longer tances. I’m grateful to be involved withinvolved in a given garden and making than that, having shifted from a 10-year such a fine group of dedicated, funthe best decision available for both the stint where photography was mostly people.client and the environment. responsible for paying the bills. Despite As health and environment concerns My favorite part of ecological land- an academic background in natural continue to grow, the kind of informa-scaping is creating healthy soils and sciences (B.S. Environmental Conserva- tion ELA provides will be increasinglytherefore creating an environment tion, UNH), until recently i had been important. A still relatively young andfor healthy plants and people. I’m mostly working in publications pro- small organization, ELA will face newcurrently working with brewed com- duction and photography. And here i challenges as it grows to the next levelpost teas (Dr. Elaine Ingham’s work) am with ELA, still blending most of of organizational maturity. I look for-and soil remineralization for weak those interests. ward to helping ELA develop in itstrees. Additional training in landscaping capacity to provide practical informa- and horticulture included UMass tion on sustainable tools and facilitate Extension’s Green School; the certificate connections between people in the program at New England Wild Flower spirit of our mission. 14
  15. 15. Chris O’Brien garden management and outreach, Diane Syverson vice-president, steering committee, from the University of Washington. public relations coordinator, continuing director After completing my degree, it was steering committee,I joined the ELA about two years ago only natural for me to find my way new directorbecause it is one of the few organiza- back to native plant horticulture. Cur- I am honored to be joining the board oftions concerned primarily with the rently, I am a horticulturist at Garden ELA, a group with a mission and anenvironmental effects of the work in the Woods, the botanical garden of organization to lead the way for otherperformed by landscape professionals. the New England Wild Flower Society. regions of the country.I agreed to serve on the Board of the I have a wide range of horticultural For many years I worked within theELA because I think that my previous interests, plus many other related inter- arboretum and botanic garden commu-experience working on the boards of ests. I am very dedicated to the educa- nity, with elementary school childrensimilar organizations can contribute to tion of professionals and the public and teachers. Then my job was to findachieving the goals of ELA. about environmentally friendly land- ways to encourage learners to think Previous experience includes work scaping concepts that will enhance and more deeply and often about plants.for trade, professional, and other not- build healthier surroundings for our To build their understanding aboutfor-profit organizations, as well as in communities. I look forward to serving how incredibly interesting plants arethe energy area. I currently help ELA as a board member and providing and how we depend upon them for life.operate Howard Garden Designs Inc., my expertise and enthusiasm to the A stimulating professional networkwhich is a landscape design and build growth of our organization. was automatically part of working atfirm based in Newton, Mass. the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, Like most gardeners, I spend a lot Sue Storer Mass.of time fiddling around with our own treasurer, steering committee, Now I am starting a small gardengardens, but I also am interested in continuing director design business. I am especially curiousblacksmithing and the creation of iron to find ways to help clients developworks for the garden and house. I have been on ELA’s board of directors their own awareness of their home’s from its inception in the early ’90s. This landscape ecology. This is a compli- organization has given me the informa- cated job. To succeed, I need a profes- Tom Smarr tion and support I have needed to put membership chair, sional network which shares a commit- (at least some of) my ideals into practice ment to changing the way we value the continuing director in my landscaping work. Over the past ecology of place—in our gardens andMy appreciation for nature developed 10 years, I have helped coordinate the communities. A network to help meduring my youthful days in the moun- organic lawn-care standards group; stay interested and informed. Onetains of north central Pennsylvania. have organized round tables, annual with which to share and develop ideas,As a result, in part, of my several years meetings, and board retreats; and have stretch thinking, trade frustrations.of frolicking through the forests and served as president, secretary, and now Many thanks to those who founded thefarm fields, I studied Environmental treasurer. It has been a thrill to see what Ecological Landscaping Association.Studies at a little-known school called this group has been able to accomplish I am pleased to be a member! ■Slippery Rock University of Pennsyl- together so far, and I am very excitedvania (located north of Pittsburgh). about our goals for the next several After completing my BS degree, a years. ***more demanding call to horticulture My work in horticulture began in the Note: Terry Bastian has resigned fromimmersed me into the beautiful world fields at Weston Nurseries (including a the board for personal reasons.of public gardens. During my several stint as a mule driver). I have workedyears of work experience and studies, as the horticulturist at Garden in theI found myself in Seattle, Wash. There, Woods, ran my own garden design andI worked as a gardener and nursery maintenance business, and managed ansalesman, and was the interim Edu- old estate undergoing massive renova-cation/Outreach Coordinator for the tions (it had all the elements of a goodCenter for Urban Horticulture. I also British sitcom). I am currently workingcompleted a master’s degree in Urban part time as a subcontractor doingHorticulture, specializing in public garden installation and maintenance. 15