Friday, March 18, 2011

#1 Happiest Large City - Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

According to a post on CBS called  The 10 Happiest (and Saddest) Cities in the U.S., the Washington Metro Area is #1 on the list of the 10 Happiest Large Cities.

It's probably because of all of the Bare Naked Gardening!

DC Water Hosts World Walks for Water 6K

DC Water Understands that Water is Life. That's why they are hosting the World Walks for Water 6K this weekend on Sunday, March 20th in Support of World Water Day 2011.

The walk will begin at Archives Metro Station - 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

For more information, visit World Walks for Water or the DC Water Press release.

Wildlife Moves Me! - LET'S MOVE Butterflies to the White House Garden

Wildlife Moves Me!  

The idea for this  post sprouted from many fertile seeds:

1) Mrs. Obama recently replanted the White House Garden for 2011. The White House garden is a part of Mrs. Obama’s "Let’s Move!" campaign to get kids outdoors to help combat childhood obesity.

2) March 14th – 20th is National Wildlife Week - a week designated by the National Wildlife Federation to teach kids about wildlife.

3) Sunday, March 20th, is the first Day of Spring

4) My fellow garden blogger Jan Huston Doble is running a campaign called the Gardener's Sustainable Living Project to encourage people to post what they are doing for Earth Day, which is April 22.

5) Marc Daniels is encouraging kids to email the president about a White House Peace Seed Planting to help Weed Out Hate

6) America's Great Outdoors Campaign , an effort of the Council on Environmental Quality, is looking for ideas to get kids to interact with and appreciate nature

7) The Children and Nature Network is kicking off their Let's G.O. Campaign in the month of April, to get more kids to Go Outside!

8) I believe that butterflies can help save the planet.

That's right. I said butterflies.

So I decided to create my own post called Wildlife Moves Me to help combine all of these efforts.

I believe that encouraging kids to create an eco-friendly garden to attract wildlife is one of the simplest and, by far, the most fun way to inspire them to take care of the environment. It is also an excellent way to combine the efforts of many organizations into one goal:  getting kids outside to move them, inspire them, educate them and encourage them to protect the planet.

There is just something magical about the process of learning how easy it is to attract such small, beautiful wonders as the iridescent hummingbird or how awe-inspiring it is to watch the transformation of caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly and to know that the steps that you took are what brought those wondrous creatures to your yard.

I think that the process is so transforming, that I would  LOVE to see Mrs. Obama create a special garden at the White House to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies and hummingbirds. It would be a great way to get kids outside in nature and help to educate and inspire our next generation of environmental stewards.

If you are looking for something to do this weekend to get your kids outside in nature, why not help them to create their own wildlife or butterfly garden? The change it will bring to your children, your life and your landscape will be magical!

The lessons one can learn and teach in a wildlife friendly landscape are too numerous to list, but here are just a few:

1) Taking care of the planet begins in our own backyards. Everything we do in our yards affects the rest of the planet. The benefits of conserving water and being aware of stormwater runoff are two of the easiest lessons to teach.

2) Gardens can feed people and wildlife too! Choose plants to  provide food sources for local wildlife. Adding parsley and dill to the White House Gardens will attract some beautiful butterflies!

3)  Eliminating chemicals in your organic garden is good for the food and for the local wildlife.

4) Some insects and garden creatures, such as worms and ladybugs, are very good in the garden

5) Counting birds and other species can help citizens  make important discoveries to help scientists

Here are some previous posts to help you get started on your wildlife-friendly garden.

10 Tips for Creating a Wildlife Friendly Landscape

Gardening for Hummingbirds

Plants to Attract Hummingbirds

Create a Butterfly Garden, Easy as 1-2-3

Plant More Plants - but water wisely

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), along with a number of other Chesapeake Bay Program partners in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., is encouraging homeowners to “Plant More Plants” as a way to mitigate stormwater runoff and erosion and ultimately help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.  

The message to homeowners is simple: by planting more plants, they not only improve their lawns and landscapes but they also help protect one of our most important resources – the Chesapeake Bay - the largest estuary in the United States.  

The Plant More Plants website provides many tips for creating a more eco-friendly landscape. Here are some of the suggestions for conserving water

There are three steps to practical landscape watering: Find out how much water your plants need. Know how much water each part of your watering system applies. Match your watering system output to your plants’ needs. To reduce watering and maintenance, group plants with greater water needs together, and place them in a spot that is naturally moist, such as a low-lying area or at the bottom of a hill. Whether you’re irrigating by hand or using an automatic timer, grouping like with like can simplify your watering sequence. 

When is the best time to water? Avoid afternoon watering, which results in a 20 to 25 percent loss of water through heat and evaporation. Watering in the evening prevents evaporation, but it increases the risk of fungal disease and damage from nocturnal insects searching for water. Morning watering is preferred. Avoid watering during the heat of the day, as water will be lost to evaporation. Apply water at a rate of half an inch per hour. Faster application will cause runoff, wasting water and money. 

Sprinkler Systems: Are you overwatering your yard? Many plant problems arise not from underwatering, but from overwatering. A good way to prevent overwatering is to install rain or soil moisture sensors to override your automatic. With hand watering, you can easily avoid overwatering.  

Click here to read more watering tips (pdf file) 

For more great tips from Plant More Plants, visit their website.

Website by Water Words That Work LLC