Friday, December 5, 2008

Environmental Sustainable Native Something

It feels like I haven't posted anything for a little bit, and for good reason. Before Thanksgiving I had a small electrical fire. No damage done, basically the extension cord powering my computer started bellowing out smoke, so I've had to move my operation down to the living room where I'm comfortably typing now.

I'm still going ahead with my plans to start a Native Plant Club and still toying with ideas for names. So far Native Yard of New Jersey or Environmental Gardens sound like the best one. There is a Native Plant club already in the state but they're widely based up north. Also sadly ALL of the links on their site that offer information on endangered or extinct species (and even completely lists of native plants) are broken! Go see for yourself.

It's not that I don't have faith in them at all. I don't know them, I'm not in contact with them. I just hope they're one of those organizations with big dreams but don't have the money to pay for and update a proper website. This actually happens a lot and a website with a good design can be very expensive. A simple 5 button (meaning 6 pages) can cost $1500 with the cost for yearly hosting and domain name renewal negotiable. You may be thinking well I'll just create my own website and I say "Good Fucking Luck!" Of course the 15 year old living next door might have a better offer but think about how responsible and experienced they'll be.

So my other choice for a name was Environmental Gardening and I was shocked to find one website actually had this as a catagory for a form of gardening. Actually a few website do this but it's strange that they also include "Native Plant Gardens" and "Sustainable Gardening" as separate categories. These should all be the same thing. Sustainable and Environmental gardens should be almost nothing but Native Plants! A few exceptions would be plants that are used in place of natives that also aren't invasive.

Here is an example: America only has 3 or 4 native species/varieties of Apple tree (Malus) but the 300 to 400 or so other species/varieties are all alien species brought with us from Europe or specifically bread here in the US. The native apples still exist in the wild but aren't regularly farmed... I believe because they don't taste as apple-like. But here's the thing. The thing is all apples (as far as I know) are still usable by our native moths and butterflies as host plants. My non-native Snowdrift Crabapple tree can still be used as a host plant. Also it's tiny crabapple (berries?) can be eaten by birds. It's also a nice looking landscape plant because the small red berries stay on the plant. A number of shrubs do this too where the fruit stays on the foliage well into the winter. They remain there becuase the berries don't taste good but birds will eventually eat them as all the better tasting berries get eaten first.

You could argue they aren't native and displacing the native apples but at least these aren't bad for the environment. This turns into a simple matter of protecting a 3 to 4 species instead of removing a keystone that causes irreperable damage to the echosystem.