I have been profoundly influenced by the activists who, since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, have been working to reverse the harmful habits into which much of gardening has fallen. A large part of what I advocate is the shedding of conventional gardening’s counter-productive practices. The ways in which gardeners till and weed, irrigate, fertilize, spray and blow their plots, for example, cause perpetual disturbance to the ecologies of those areas and create an irresistible invitation to invasive species.

These impediments can best be corrected by a return to ecological principles. My experience has taught me that this change of behavior brings not just a healthier, more dynamic landscape but also one that demands far less inputs and work. While there are powerful environmental reasons for bringing our gardens into a sounder relationship with nature, better results are a powerful enough motivation for change.

In this ecological approach, garden landscapes flourish without the traditional injections of irrigation and fertilizers and are better able to cope on their own with weeds and pests. The gardener’s input becomes a matter of directing the garden ecosystem’s evolution into desirable paths. At the same time, this kind of gardening fulfills many of the goals promoted by the environmental activists. It turns the landscape from a consumer of resources and polluter into a source of environmental renewal, a nexus of storm water absorption and purification, a sanctuary for native wildlife and protector of biodiversity.

For all of those galvanized by the message of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home, ecological gardening is the next step, the way to turn philosophy into practice.

Naturally Yours,

garden ecologist


(818) 761-1688