first rule of intelligent tinkering
to save all the pieces."
- Aldo Leopold
a fifteen-year experience in nursery and landscape construction,
I found myself redefining my job. I used to find happiness
and comfort knowing that I was helping the earth by cleaning
up behind bulldozers. I could beautify and regreen any
given area with my landscaping talents. I had learned
about soils, erosion and drainage. I eventually had become
a licensed irrigation designer. I had hydromulched, seeded,
sodded and irrigated untold acres of Bermuda and St. Augustine
I grew and matured, I realized value in native plants --
not just monetary value, but their value in preserving our
water resources and providing the plant diversity which
helps preserve wildlife. Insects aren't all bad, I found
out. Some worms make butterflies; some bugs eat other bugs.
Birds and fish depend on insects for their food. I had learned
now, after spreading tons of fertilizer, that muriate of
potash kills all living soil organisms, and that nitrate
fertilizers pollute the groundwater. I don't even like to
think about the herbicides and pesticides I've used and
is time to redefine landscaping. Americans currently use
on their urban lawns more natural resources than are used
in the agricultural production of the entire continents
of Africa and
Just as one example, up till very recently more than 10
pounds of pesticides were used per acre in Dallas, Texas
alone! An average blackland cotton farmer uses less than
one pound per acre -- I think the farmers can't take all
the blame for groundwater pollution.
How many herbicides and pesticides and fertilizers are
currently being stored in your garage? And even if you
throw them away, where will they go? The Dallas-Fort Worth
landfill is right alongside the bank of the Elm Fork of
the Trinity River, between the suburbs of Carrollton and
Lewisville. Not even a tree separates the water from the
landfill. Where is the landfill in your town?
It is time for all Americans to adopt a code of land ethics.
The Native Americans based many of their decisions on
how a particular action might affect the next seven generations.
If it could be determined that no negative impact would
be created, only then was the action approved.
want to provide alternatives for people who would actually
like to DO something about their environment. By now,
we all know that we have problems with the air we breathe,
the water we drink, and the food we eat. We understand
that the earth is being abused and mistreated. There
is so much talk, but very little is put into action.
Radio, television and newsprint point out the problems;
the rainforest disappears by the minute. But precious
little information is available still, that provides
real alternatives and answers.
have been forced to find some answers, especially
in my work with organic farming. I learned to
use beneficial insects, foliar spraying of plants
with fish emulsions and seaweed
I've been forced to look at native plants for
landscaping, as water supplies become scarcer
and more unaffordable.
is said about "releafing" America, but
little is said about what species we should be
planting. Turn to native plants in your area or
bioregion. The answers were known by the Native
people. We must now piece together what we can,
from what remains. Our jobs are more than to preserve
and protect. We must reclaim and restore. But
the most important job we have is to educate.
We need to educate ourselves, each other, and
especially our children. We must set the example.
am in the fields, sowing the seeds and cultivating
the crops. I am biting the dust, pulling the old
Allis Chalmers combine. I am in the barn, forking
the seed as it dries. I am in the classrooms and
auditoriums sharing my experience. This is how I
have chosen to earn my living.
am thankful for your interest in our work. I have
great joy in my heart when I see these seeds and
products used to restore and sustain our environment.
May many children be led by your example. May
many generations come to be thankful for what
you have planted and protected.