Podcast #5 – Selling Sustainability

Everyone (including me) hates how the word “sustainability” has been overused and misused. Yet there are some good concepts associated with the word that can help gardeners make rational decisions about products and practices. This week’s podcast deconstructs sustainability into specific actions that gardeners can easily follow:

  • Discovering and nurturing the natural processes that keep your gardens and landscapes healthy and functional
  • Choosing plants and products wisely to conserve natural resources
  • Creating gardens and landscapes that don’t require constant inputs of packaged fertilizers and pesticides

The podcast illustrates each of these points.  First, there’s a research article that demonstrates the benefits of polyculture in growing vegetables.  Next, there’s a critical look at a website presenting a “Sustainable Garden Starter Kit: 10 Must-Have Products for the New Green Grower.” Lastly I dispel the myth of “instant landscaping”, which is code for “long term disaster.”

The interview this week is on building your own garden pond. Dr. Jim Scott (PhD in horticulture), turns his talents to the plumbing, electrical work, and aesthetic disguises needed to build a really great garden water feature. Lucky for me, he also happens to be my spouse!


Jim and Linda try to figure out how many years it took to do a week long project

Decks…

…cleverly disguise pump system…

…and filter system

Seasonal guests

Permanent residents (the little orange guys in water)

Please let me know what you think of the podcast; you can email me directly or post a comment on the blog. Suggestions for future podcasts are most welcome!

Published by

Linda Chalker-Scott

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award. "The Garden Professors" Facebook page - www.facebook.com/TheGardenProfessors "The Garden Professors" Facebook group - www.facebook.com/groups/GardenProfessors Books: http://www.sustainablelandscapesandgardens.com

3 thoughts on “Podcast #5 – Selling Sustainability”

  1. Great podcast. I’m a landscape designer and gardening coach, and I sooooo totally agree that the word sustainability has been overused and misused.

    Yes, I use that word in my practice, but I try to educate about what it REALLY means. And I use words to describe my version of sustainability which are almost almost identical to those you have presented in this podcast.

    I teach a class called ‘Successful Gardening’ which emphasizes some of the same points you made in this podcast, such as:
    do planning and research BEFORE planting (or even buying) the first plant; and being concerned with plants living a long
    time rather than just a short while.

    Boy was I overjoyed to hear you say many of the same things I say!

    And I, too, have issues with these design shows that preach (and seem to demonstrate) that you can have it all… instantly.

    In the garden, short-term gratification rarely leads to long-term satisfaction… IMHO. And don’t even get me going about doing maintenance!!!

    From a fellow WA state Master Gardener (Clark County), thanks for the good work you do.

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