“There are four ecological functions every landscape must perform if we are to achieve a sustainable relationship with the natural world that support us (and continuing to insist on landscapes that do not sustain mother nature is not and has never been a realistic option). It’s really very simple; our landscapes must do the things that enable ecosystems to produce the life support we and every other species requires. 1) They must support a diverse community of pollinators throughout the growing season. 2) They must provide energy for the local food web. 3) They must manage the watershed in which they lie. 4) They must remove carbon from the atmosphere where it is wreaking havoc on the earth’s climate. How well a landscape accomplishes these goals depends on how well we, as landscape managers, choose and deploy the plants on our landscapes.” Doug Tallamy
Simple gardening has become a practice of biology, ecology, and sustainability. There is a lot more science than we initially thought would be involved. But meeting Tallamy’s goals does not require a master’s degree. Being an observant participant in our landscapes lets us know that diversity is good. Learning from other gardeners, scientists, and restorationist and applying those principles to our garden continually improves our landscapes to become more sustainable. Mimicking natural processes will slowly increase biodiversity on our little plot of earth.
Every small thing we do is beneficial. Every square foot of lawn we remove, every native we plant, every tree we protect, helps meet Tallamy’s landscape goals. Some actions are more beneficial than others but every action counts. Gardening may begin as a selfish act to have a pretty yard but eventually we all get swept into the native landscaping movement, saving the earth one garden at a time.