I'm an ex-golf course superintendant, ex-landscape contractor, ex-nursery owner and ex- maintenance contractor. I'm a current landscape architect, author, homeowner, home gardener, husband and father.
I'm also a current "born-again' organic landscape gardener and I've spent a great deal of time over the past few years learning about my new passion. That is, how to use more natural techniques and products in lieu of chemical ones.
Five years ago, I was using completely different landscaping procedures, and as a result, I have empathy for those homeowners and landscape people who mistakenly think they are doing the right thing. What changed my thinking about the safety of landscaping maintenance products was the birth of my daughter. It was at that point that I seriously started investigating the less toxic and more horticultural sound, alternatives.
What I hope to do with this weekly column is to try and help readers understand that there are landscape maintenance procedures that are financially sound, environmentally sensitive and safe to wildlife, pets and children. Additionally, I hope to show you that the natural techniques are fun and really work so that, ultimately, you'll have a garden that's more beautiful and more manageable than you ever imagined.
The terms "natural' and "organic' will be used often in these columns. These words are interchangeable in my opinion and have no pure meaning or definition. The terms "safe and non-toxic' also will be used often and they too are not pure definitions, but rather are relative descriptions to compare against other more widely used products.
The philosophy of organic landscaping is simple to carry out but sometimes a little harder to understand. The secret is the health of the soil.
Healthy soil - as opposed to dirt - is alive and constantly changing, growing, decaying and moving. It also has billions and billions of living microorganisms per square foot. That's not a misprint!