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Pineleaf Penstemon, Gold On Blue Prairie Zinnia, Agastache, Lavender, Ratibita, and more in a perennial garden.

Sustainable Gardening For A Resilient, Easy-Care Garden

Are you adding a few new plants, converting some high maintenance lawn to low care alternatives, or beginning a new habitat-friendly garden makeover? Using sustainable principles to guide you will ultimately give you a healthy garden that will require less care as it becomes more resilient. By gardening with sustainability in mind, you automatically create a landscape that is rich in diversity that benefits a larger world.

At High Country Gardens we offer plants, products, and information that support long-term ecological balance, and work to build and sustain the love of gardening for generations to come. Our mission is to improve the earth, one garden at a time. We’ve addressed the growing needs for water conservation and environmentally-friendly gardening practices by developing an incredible selection of waterwise and native plants. Our plants are chosen for their hardiness, beauty, and their support of habitat creation.

Building Healthy Soil

The foundation in any garden or earthscape is the soil. The soil beneath our feet is a living world of small and microbial organisms that work together to create the healthy ecosystem we call soil. We can increase the health of our soil (and our plants) not by digging, turning, or tilling the soil but by adding layers of plant nutrients to the surface. They gradually break down into the best of all fertilizers, creating a thriving living community beneath our feet.

Using organic mulch reduces weeds, reduces watering needs, and recycles your green waste into soil. Use organic supplements such as Yum Yum Mix and Plant Success mycorrhizal root inoculant to give new plantings a boost and to replace nutrients used the previous season.

Using organic supplements our soil and plants thrive and we can enjoy a safe and healthy landscape for pets and family.

Right Plant, Right Place

The saying, “The right plant in the right place” is a golden rule when creating a sustainable landscape. Pay close attention to each plant’s requirements, ask questions, and especially consider water, sun, and soil needs, grouping like plants together. Use bloom-time information to create a full season of color and nectar for pollinators. 

Native plants offer multiple bonuses for a sustainable and resilient garden. They have evolved to thrive on our continent and our insects, and birds and other wildlife depend upon their presence for sustenance. They are low care, already matched to our soil conditions, and offer a beautiful, natural look to a garden or yard with a distinct sense of place.

Thinking Big

When gardening sustainably, it’s helpful to think of your garden as a circle or a sphere, a network of small parts that are connected to and dependent upon all of the other parts. When we get the parts in place, by taking the whole into account, we are gardening sustainably, mimicking an ecosystem found in nature. In turn, healthy garden ecosystems are robust and resilient. This means they need less care and maintenance, giving us more time to enjoy our landscapes with friends and family.

Sustainable gardening involves thinking about our neighbors, down the street, in the field next door, or in the river that flows from our town to the ocean. What we put in our gardens may spread in a big rain, wind storm, or carried by birds and bees. Contouring our land to contain overflow can add visual interest as well as prevent runoff. Rain gardens are great ways to create a landscape that can handle extreme rainfall. Beautiful, whether dry or full of water, they have been found to help purify water and to hold rainwater within your property, further reducing expensive water bills. Also, by following organic gardening practices, when waters overflow we can rest easy knowing that our runoff won’t harm others.

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Text by Katrina Godshalk, a garden writer with years of experience writing for High Country Gardens. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in sustainability and has gardened extensively in the Southwest.

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