“Do you know where you are going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you?” ~Diana Ross, 1975
Seems there is a lot of angst out there.
A Christmas letter that we received just a week ago ended with the following, “We begin a new decade with some fear for our planet, our nation and the future our grandchildren will face.”
Fair enough. We share those fears.
However, we are in the interesting position to see some positive news on the horizon. We are gardeners, after all. We would not do what we do if we viewed the future as hopeless. We plant and sow for tomorrow. There is some faith on the part of the gardener mixed into the recipe of each successful garden. Many of our readers will understand this.
When we muck about in the soil, grow our own food, create a more beautiful landscape around our home and embrace nature, it is literally impossible for us to remain moribund.
Here are 5 trends that we see for “a better world”:
1. Small efforts help biodiversity in big ways.
Sometimes, a small effort goes a long way. That is certainly true with pollinators, where research shows a small refuge in an urban environment can do as much to help birds and insects as protecting vast swaths of wilderness. That is because these pollinators migrate, they search desperately for somewhere to land and feed as they cross the urban jungle. One garden can make all the difference.
Resolution: It is easy to do (plant mostly native flowering plants) and fun (a foraging bee is fascinating to watch: take your time).
2. Value of Trees.
The value of a lot of things is changing. The value of a taxi license, for instance, is not as high as it was just a few years ago. Uber and others like them changed that.
The value of real estate in Vancouver and Toronto is changing.
The value that we attach to trees is also changing. So much attention has been paid to trees of late that the Federal Liberals promise to plant 2 billion trees over the next 10 years. They have ear marked $3 billion to get the job done. Politicians act, for the most part, in response to the will of the people. Clearly, they read this one accurately, as our understanding of the complex nature of trees and the myriad positive contributions that they make to our environment and society are being realized and appreciated by more and more people.
This year, plant a tree or two. Or pay a not-for-profit to do it for you. We recommend the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign www.hohtribute.ca
3. Grandparents speak up.
And speak with their feet. Grandparents want their grandchildren to know that they want to make a positive contribution to the environment. On May 10th, 2020 (Mothers Day) hundreds of grandparents, their kids and their kid’s kids will “Walk for Nature”.
4. Gardeners show us how to reduce, reuse, recycle.
At a recent meeting of nursery growers, one member raised the growing awareness of plastic waste as an urgent issue for the industry to address. Like politicians, businesses listen when consumers make demands. Gardeners are generally environmentally conscious consumers, and can help push progress by asking questions and demonstrating waste minimizing strategies in the garden. We love to see recycled materials showing up in garden features across the country, such as old windows re-purposed as cold frames.
Resolution: reuse your plastic pots. Start your own seedlings. Encourage your local garden retailer to introduce a plastic pot and tray recycling program. We have seen this work successfully at many garden retailers, including Sheridan Nurseries in Ontario.
5. Local lives.
Carried by local food movement, people are looking to smaller local producers to source flowers and plant material. This has the obvious environmental benefit of fewer kilometers traveled for the things we buy, but it has also empowered upstart entrepreneurs to market themselves by way of social media and local farmer’s markets. Two of our favourites to follow are Antonio Valente at @antoniovalenteflowers and Melanie at @dahliamayflowerfarm.
Resolution: buy locally produced plants and flowers. One obvious place to connect with growers is at your local farmers market. Other retailers are embracing the trend also.
Whatever your resolutions this year, we wish you a successful, healthy and fulfilling 2020.
Our best wishes to our most loyal customers and friends: you.
Mark and Ben Cullen
Merchants of Beauty