Conscience is a man’s compass
~ Vincent van Gogh

I don’t know about you, but I have always been a trusting soul.  Too much some times where I never see the whack coming when someone does something so awful that I fall hard and lose that trust.  Look, I know I have done things in my life to make others lose trust in me so I am not perfect.  But I try to make my relationships better and repair that trust if possible where I can.

And so it is with many aspects of our lives.  Trust isn’t just about our relationships with people.  It is about our relationship with the flora, fauna, cultures now and before us of which we must be cognizant. We have been entrusted with this Earth, and as living beings sharing the Earth we must understand that trust.  We must understand that if we intend to breath the air, drink the water, use the land to live off of, then we must share it in a respectful way.  As the Native cultures around the world will tell you, we are just visiting and we should leave the Earth the way we found it; actually we should leave it better than we found it.  Enough excuses for why we can’t do this or that people are being extreme in their assessment of the state of the environment.  Just leave it a better place, simple! Then you know you have done all you can.

So as part of this entrustment, I am participating in the  Gardener’s Sustainable Living Project, the brainchild of Jan Huston Doble at Thanks for Today.  What a perfect way to celebrate spring and Earth Day which is fast approaching.

As Jan says: The Gardeners’ Sustainable Living Project was created to share ways that gardeners are actively practicing a greener lifestyle and contributing to protecting our environment. If you are a garden blogger or just a gardener, you can join in and share what you do to help, rather than hinder, nature. Just because we are gardeners doesn’t mean we’re operating ‘sustainably’. Let’s find ways to garden by taking into account our impact on the environment and whether that has a positive effect on our health and that of Mother Earth.

Through Jan, this project encourages gardeners who blog or not to leave comments to discuss what they are doing to promote sustainability.  And there are prizes which certainly encourages folks to participate, but I am doing it just because it is a good thing to do; to help each other see new ways to be better inhabitants of this Earth.

The pictures posted here are of wildlife that visit my “neck of the woods”.  They are who I worry about the most.  So this year I am doing a number of things to protect their habitat and try to leave this Earth a better place.

  1. Going Organic: My ignorance surprises me sometimes.  I think I am gardening organically and then, whack, I read something about chemicals to watch for or avoid, and I say how could I be so stupid to not know I am using those.  Recently it was the potting soil with Miracle Grow.  It’s a fertilizer, but it is not natural; it is chemical.  So I am looking for more examples of chemicals we use. Natural weed and feed of the lawn is the next reduction in chemicals. I know get rid of the lawn, but I like using it for paths in my cottage gardens and we don’t water it.  So for now the lawn stays.
  2. Planting more natives and replacing more aggressives: This is especially so my critters have food.  As I look around at the plants I do I have, I am making sure we at least have a native of that plant species and if we don’t then it will be my mission to try and find one.  I am also addressing aggressive/invasive plants (see my recent post on Invasives).  I will be looking to replace many of these with a native plant.  In doing so, I will also be careful not to dispose of the aggressive or invasive plant into the wild environs that surround my gardens.  If I  have introduced them to the wild, it will be my mission to eradicate these nasty plants from that natural environment.
  3. Participating in The National Phenology movement in earnest: If you have not hear of this, it is worth looking into.  Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.  As NPN says: The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.  As an USA-NPN observer, you can help scientists identify and understand environmental trends so we can better adapt to climate change. I have started every year observing certain plant and animal life, and admittedly have not followed through.  But since I made a commitment a few years ago, I am finally sticking with it.  It really takes little time, and you can make it as simple and easy as possible.  If you love to garden or observe wildlife at all, I urge you to check it out.  Pam over at Pam’s English Cottage Garden is getting involved in a local phenology project in Eastern Pennsylvania.  I encourage you to follow her blog as she works on this worthwhile project.
  4. Creating a wildlife habitat: This year I was able to certify our gardens as wildlife habitats through the program at The National Wildlife Federation. This a great program and easy to do.  Consider looking into getting your yard, community park or local school garden certified.
  5. Continuing to not use chemicals and plastics in the house as well: We have been better with getting rid of chemicals in the house especially for cleaning.  I am also trying to replace plastics, like plastic containers, with other Earth friendly materials.  I have been researching alternatives to plastic containers, but still haven’t put a full plan together.
  6. Further reducing water usage (although we have been good with this over the years): We do not water our lawn or perennial beds.  We reuse water for container watering, and it has helped that I have installed numerous rain gardens and french drained the down spouts so the water is being put back into the gardens.
  7. Other: We are growing more organic fruits and vegetables in our garden this year; we also recycle and compost.  These are things we will continue to do and expand upon as we learn more.


So there you have it.  My little manifesto for the Earth.  It is by no means complete, and it changes as my education on these and other topics increases.  I will post more on some of these initiatives as the year progresses.  I hope you will consider looking at what you are doing, and how you might continue to make further changes.  The Earth and all her inhabitants are counting on you.  They TRUST you will help continue to make this a wonderful place to live!!

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us.  When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.  ~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac



30 Replies to “Trust”

  1. I admire your worthy commitment to be a better steward of our earth. I share your desire to see our Earth protected and cared for and have been trying to be a better steward myself. I still have a lot to learn and appreciated your post. Education is the key. Teaching each other is a key element in spreading awareness.

  2. I learn so much from other bloggers too…I am not always successful but I try..I appreciate you thoughtful words too Cat!!!

  3. A good wakeup call, Donna and of course we can never have too many reminders! I share your fascination with phenology – hope to check out that website and learn more. Thanks for the link!

  4. Thank you Donna – I am still learning and these posts remind me to be mindful of my actions. I really am trying to be a good organic gardener – I have to rethink the lawn I have but I am implementing one of those rain water tanks this year … but there are still so many other things to do.

    1. Take it slow and be kind to yourself. I still have my lawn too but think every year how I might get rid of more…I am moving at my own pace this year with a couple of goals in mind..Christine, you are doing such a marvelous job…keep it going and know you have a gardener’s heart and soul…it shows!!

  5. Another post to touch our thoughts and hearts. Thanks, Donna- I’m also going to check out the NPN and CWH- thanks for the info!
    You never cease to impress me.

  6. Another heartfelt and educational post, Donna! You are doing so many positive things. Garden blogging has helped me become aware and ‘educated’ about what I can do in my little corner of the world. This is where I’ve been learning about everything from rain barrels to butterfly cats to native plants. Prior to blogging I really didn’t have a clue, so to speak;-) I’ve always loved nature but it’s by sharing with each others that we are able to learn, and incorporate some of what we learn, into our own lives. I will check out Pam’s page for more info, as well. She won the rainbarrel in my project last year! Thanks again for ‘installation 2’ of your posts for my project!

    1. Jan I want to thank you for having this wonderful project…I read hundreds of blogs a week and learn so much too..I am so glad you have enjoyed both posts and that these posts may be educating others… 🙂

  7. Donna, I was so impressed by what Jan’s sustainable living project had inspired you to do in this post that I am now offering a prize in the contest portion of the project: snowdrops from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens. I want to offer my little encouragement to fellow bloggers to put together posts like this to inspire everyone to make changes. The only way anything will happen to remedy the mess we have made is one little property at a time, and I truly believe we can do it. Thank you so much, Carolyn

    1. Carolyn I am blown away…actually just about speechless…it warms my heart to know we are all part of something much bigger to help make the world better….I would love to win those snowdrops 🙂

  8. Always a worthy cause. And a simple solution. Just leave it better. The post that One did awhile back on Chief Seattle’s speech was the best environmental words I have ever read. I am glad it inspired you as well. Your post was well thought out, well written and your actions admirable.

    1. Donna thank you…Chief Seattle’s speech inspired me many years ago and I loved reading it again in One’s post…it is an honor that you and other bloggers I greatly admire liked the post…

  9. Donna, what a wonderful and inspiring list! I’m going to check into the wildlife habitat idea – it looks do-able even in a tiny urban space.

    1. Stacy it is pretty easy to do and I wish you all the success…thanks for the kind words and I am glad you liked the post…

  10. Brava Donna! For every inch we take we will see a clear mile ahead and like a quilt, we will make our connecting gardens and land into a healthy living tapestry for our planet . . . chemical free corridors for wildlife. The more we act and ask questions the more the desire for change will grow. You might look into seeds for low growing clover and violets for your paths. I have grass paths too and never put anything on them. Good luck with that. Great post!

    1. thanks Carol. What a great way to look at it like a quilt…and I will look into the ideas for ground covers…I feel great with each change and new discovery for change I make 🙂

  11. This may sound corny but as a daughter of a wildlife biologist and the wife of a life time scouter, I have pretty much be raised on the the concept of always leaving things better than you found them. I cut my teeth on the concerns of invasive species of plants, of micro environments you can create for native wildlife and the impact we make everyday on the earth around us. I applaud your dedication, I applaud the movement. I will evaluate my own little piece of earth that I stuard and see what other things I can be doing to help make it better for all.

    1. What a wonderful rich heritage you have to draw from…wow…as I educate myself, I am learning and trying new things…I would love to learn what you decide to do and perhaps share it through your blog or mine…let me know…

  12. Great post! I applaud your efforts, and I try to do similar things. I am becoming more aware of plastics and their potential harm. It seems everything is either made from or comes wrapped in plastic. We humans need to know that what is harmful to the earth and its wild inhabitants is also harmful to us. We are all interconnected.

  13. Beautiful post Donna! Your commitment to sustainability is admirable, as is your willingness to make changes as needed.

    My two cents on lawns . . . I feel the grass itself isn’t the problem. It’s all the stuff people routinely treat it with that is. When my husband and I first got together I was stunned and dismayed at all the chemicals he used. (and he wondered what happened to the frogs and toads that used to live here when he first came!)

    To his credit he’s eliminated pretty much all the chemicals (still working on the grub stuff he uses every two or three years – UGH!!!) I feel lawns can be an integral part of sustainability as long as they’re cared for sustainably. The chemicals and overwatering are the real problem. (Oh, and if your lawn is small enough (ours isn’t, 🙁 ) those old-fashioned rotary mowers are a great way to avoid the cost and fumes from gas-powered mowers. Electric mowers are another option, although they still use precious energy resources.

    1. Thank you Linda…I agree about lawns…we are stopping the chemicals and we don’t water it…we cut it so that is still an issue for us but the chemicals were the worst..this year we will try no chemicals even for grubs…will let you know how it goes with the organic methods for grubs and all…

  14. DOnna, it is so important to be aware of these problems ans so important to spread the word, that I appreciate you post very much. I am very committed with sustainability. Lula

    1. Thank you Lula..this is a passion of mine and a strong commitment as glad to hear of your commitment…it is only through communication and education that we can make a positive difference…

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