Perfect Earth At Land Alliance

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From left: Caroline Bassett, Edwina von Gal and Jane White (Photo by Liz McLanahan)

The North Shore Land Alliance, in conjunction with the North Country Garden Club, recently hosted a presentation by landscape architect Edwina von Gal of the Perfect Earth Project.
The Perfect Earth Project strives to raise consciousness about the dangers of synthetic lawn and garden chemicals to humans, animals and the environment, and educate homeowners and professionals about natural, PRFCT (toxin-free) techniques that provide beautiful, safe results at no extra cost.

America’s lawns and gardens have long been fed a steady diet of fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers, and the idea of abandoning such methods has never been an easy sell, despite mounting safety concerns about these substances. But Edwina, as one of the country’s most lauded landscape experts, has used her experience creating gorgeous settings while honing environmentally friendly techniques to bring new credibility to the topic. The North Shore Land Alliance, North Country Garden Club and Edwina von Gal believe a garden can be both beautiful and safe.

For more information about the Perfect Earth Project, check out their website at www.perfectearthproject.org.

The Land Alliance was pleased to host such a congenial group of garden enthusiasts, professional horticulturists and generally interested parties at our Planting Fields office. Lisa Ott, President and CEO of the Land Alliance, and Jane White, Program Committee Chair of the North Country Garden Club closed the evening by saying, “We’re are happy to bring light to this topic and to be able to help galvanize our community around an effort that minimizes the use of harmful chemicals to maximize community health. It never hurts to remind ourselves that what we do on top of the land impacts the drinking water right below our feet.”

Here are some of von Gal’s tips for creating more pollinator friendly habitats.

• Do not apply broadcast sprays for mosquitos and ticks, especially synthetic products. Broadcast sprays kill all insects, not just pests. Even organic sprays can be toxic to bees and butterflies.

• If you plan on having an event or are especially concerned about ticks or mosquitos, apply a plant-based essential oil-based spray using a pressurized pump sprayer with a long arm that can get into small spaces. Only spray in early morning or evening when pollinators are less active.

• Plant native plants to support native insect populations. Many insects are dependent on specific plants for shelter and food (think monarchs and milkweed), and many native crops (think tomatoes and eggplants) are dependent on native insects for pollination.

• Plant host plants, not just flowers. Before you can have a garden full of butterflies, you need to provide a food source for their caterpillars. Keep in mind that these plants will get munched, but you might not even notice the damage.

• Pollinators get dehydrated, so provide a water source for your bees and butterflies. To prevent your bug bath from becoming a mosquito breeding ground, change the water frequently.

For more information about the North Shore Land Alliance, call 516-922-1028 or visit its website at www.northshorelandalliance.org.

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