Friday, January 27, 2012

Keep Off the Certified Wildlife Habitat

How am I supposed to do both?

Okay I guess you could use stepping stones to get around but a lot of the chemicals used to keep grass looking golf course green year round aren't very environmentally friendly. Which is why it comes as something of a shock to find out the National Wildlife Federation has partnered with Scott/Monsanto.

For whatever reason most of the Wildlife Gardening community seems to be outraged. Normally these two signs above would be featured on two different lawns. Typically both are used to explain the madness in landscaping aesthetic. The Wildlife Habitat sign is ideal for explaining why there's a tall-grass meadow in the front yard, and the Keep Off Grass sign is ideal for explaining why the home owner's water bill is so high. Now we can have both!

To be honest though, I think some of the best landscapes are when these two elements work best together. Lawns look nice, they typically hold up to foot traffic, we're getting Eco friendly no mow varieties now, and the green tends to look better than bare ground. Prairies and small Meadow plantings are ideal garden plants whether they're in a wild densely planted patch, or each plant is spread out to have its own individual space around it. The "sins" of applying chemicals, mowing, and over watering lawns are on the home owner, not the Scott/Monsanto.

To talk about the National Wildlife Federation now, I've never been a huge fan of them. Just looking through their website and catalogs clearly their ideal customer is a female over the age of 35, who likes to wear nature sweaters, collects plush toys, and probably shops at the Hallmark once a month. They could really stand to widen their audience a little with the products they sell. Does anyone honestly want to Adopt a Moose or buy a Horseshoe Crab Plush Toy?

There was even a TV show at one point where they'd landscape a home to make it a Certified Wildlife Habitat. My memory of the show was them doing the bare minimum to satisfy their criteria. I get they were trying to show how easy it is, but at the same time I got the feeling they were just trying to sell signs. Planting butterfly weed, including a bird's bath, and making a pile of stones is hardly saving anything. In the episode they devoted around 5 minutes about the 1 butterfly weed plant they put in the garden and kept emphasizing "ALL THOSE BUTTERFLIES THAT ARE GOING TO GO NUTS FOR THIS!" which comes off being really stupid, and even more so that I can't recall there being any butterflies in the episode. Do these people know what they're doing at all? Imagen if the show was all like "Move That Bus!" and there was just one milkweed plant there. I feel like there was more effort put into hanging the Certified Wildlife Habitat sign than actually building the habitat itself. Canceling this show was the right thing to do becuase it sure wasn't doing them any favors.