Archive for January 27th, 2011

Gardening with a purpose

Garden trends 2011: Gardening with a purpose

Published on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 by Pam Roy, edited by Bruce Gaudette, Mukilteo Beacon,

Photo courtesy of Pam Roy.

Following the trends of 2011, to the right is a container with purpose-edibles.

What’s the latest gardening focus for 2011?

This year, the trends lead, not to the newest splashy foliage or the newest color combinations, but to other focuses.

In 2011, according to the Garden Media Group’s research, we have turned our attention to doing what we each can in our own gardens to have a positive impact on the world.

As individual gardeners, we may not feel we can save the acres of rainforest being bulldozed daily, but we can make a difference in the environment of the world, starting in our own back yard.

Attention is being paid to the impact our individual garden practices have on the environment on a broader scale.  There is increasing recognition of the effects our choices of such things as fertilizers, pest management practices and watering on natural resources.

Increasingly, gardeners are making choices that protect and preserve resources.  In planning landscapes, there is an interest in creating urban green sanctuaries, for our enjoyment and for the benefit of all life.

The term “ sustainable practices” has become less of a trendy buzzword and more of an evolving set of guidelines describing ways in which we, as gardeners, can become partners in caring for this planet.

“Ecoscaping” is another trend for 2011.   In gardening with a purpose, gardeners are actively participating in sustainable practices.

Replacing or downsizing lawns with native plants creates sustainable spaces that require less maintenance – and use less water.

Including plants that attract and/or offer food for birds, bees and butterflies create habitat and add life and interest to the garden.  Encouraging pollinators also enhances your gardens chance of abundant fruit and flower production.

There is increased interest in replacing areas of lawn with beds for vegetable and fruit production. Nationwide, we have seen a 20 percent increase in vegetable gardens.

This author stripped up a long narrow patch of lawn two summers ago and has enjoyed a bounty of tasty fresh vegetables and berries from that transformed area.

Yet another trend is edible ornamentals. Why restrict edibles to a dedicated vegetable garden when they can be worked into the ornamental beds?  This is one of the hottest areas of interest.

And then there is the blueberries trend.  Blueberries next to a dwarf rhododendron?  Why not?  The blueberry will provide seasonal interest year round with flowers, berries, and fall and winter foliage color.

Consider substituting dwarf fruit trees for ornamental cherry trees and enjoy the sweet juicy fruit during harvest season.

According to the Garden Writers of America’s study, many gardeners are doing exactly this.  Sneak in few vegetables, a few berries, into the ornamental beds and enjoy the bonus of fresh very local food.

Plant edibles in containers and use as a focal point. Benefits of home crops include better taste, better quality and better nutrition.

Plan now, to do what you can to make a difference in your garden this year.  Consult a professional garden designer if you’d like some guidance on putting more purpose into your garden.

Pam Roy, owner of Planscapes, has been a landscape designer and horticulturist for 30 years in the Northwest.  Contact her at 425-252-9469 or

Bruce Gaudette, owner of Land Hoe!, has a degree in horticulture, is an ICPI certified installer of pavers, and is a member of the Executive Board of the state landscape association WALP.  Contact at 425-742-9417 or
Read More Bruce and Pam

Environmental groups vow justice for slain broadcaster

Environmental groups vow justice for slain broadcaster

By Marvyn N. Benaning
January 26, 2011, 5:53pm, Manila Bulletin,

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental groups on Wednesday expressed outrage at the murder of anti-mining advocate and broadcast journalist Dr. Gerardo Ortega after his morning radio program in Puerto Princesa City last January 24.

“We continue to call for justice for the tragic death of Doc Gerry. His death may be discouraging but his death gives more strength to our fight!,”Artiso Mandawa, chairman of Ancestral Land Domain Watch Network of Palawan (ALDAW), said.

“Ortega is a human rights and environmental advocate. For the past 11 months, he had been very vocal against mining and he also exposed the bribery of government officials, especially among those endorsing mining,” Mandawa said.

The suspected gunman, Marlon de Macata, with alias Marvin Alcaraz, was quickly apprehended and is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn also condemned the murder of Ortega, a veterinarian and a former member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan.

Hagedorn returned to Puerto Princesa the day after the killing to meet with the police and the media and said he was scheduled to meet Ortega in Manila to discuss environmental issues but those who want him dead got to him first.

Investigation reports said the suspected hired gun was from Taguig City and that the pistol he had used was registered in the name of a lawyer who used to be a legal adviser of former Gov. Joel Reyes.

Lawyer Robert Chan, executive director of the Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI), said the gruesome killing of Ortega would push environmental protection advocates to work with vigor.

“Now is not the time for us to feel sorry about the incident. It is a time for us to be angry, for it is that anger that will fuel our motivation to do something about it, that of which is our duty to prevent any violence to curtailing free speech,” Chan said.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) national coordinator Jayvee Garganera also condoled with the bereaved family of Ortega.

“We join the family of Ortega in mourning the death of another environmental advocate, a comrade in the fight against mining and corruption in the government,” Garganera said.

“Palawan is struggling against mining now and a lot of individuals and groups come together to openly expose the issues of mining there. Ortega may have been killed to silence the struggle against mining, but the fight will not end as long as mining companies are scattered in the Last Frontier—we will relentlessly fight and claim our right for land and a secure environment,” he said.