Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Equinox reminds us we are part of a system of life. 

Fall Equinox

Most of us in the green industry are aware of how weather affects our growing and planting.  Climate change is like putting weather on steroids.  Our growing zones are changing on the extreme ends.  Climate change doesn't mean we can plant southern plants in the north.  It means colder winters, hotter summers, and more unpredictable weather events.  It means that the genetics of existing trees in our growing zone hold the secrets and the keys to the continued survival of native plants in our area.  Native plants are so important because they support everything we depend on for life (pollination, water and air purification, energy conservation, carbon reduction, just to mention a few). 

The most efficient "climate adaptable plant" nature provides, produces seed in its area of origin.  The seedlings it produces will have a plethora of new adaptive strategies, if we would just let them.

There are plenty of places where we have so destroyed the natural soils and drainage and habitat, that maybe only a hardy, sterile, ornamental plant can survive.  There will always be a place for beauty and ornamentation in horticulture, our man-made landscapes, gardening and plant breeding.

We best not forget though, that its the native plants that do the heavy lifting.

Here are some terrific links to learn more about climate change and growing for the future.

Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy

Explore the USFS Climate Change Tree Atlas

Gardening with Climate Change in Mind

Learn more at the Creating Harmony with Native Landscapes Conference

See what local organizations are doing The Land Conservancy of McHenry County and McHenry County Conservation District and Chicago Wilderness and The Morton Arboretum