By Don Trotter 



Hello fellow Earthlings and welcome to Gardening 2000. This exciting time in our history as stewards of the planet is our opportunity to begin and continue to practice environmental responsibility in our gardens. Those who follow us into the gardening hobby will judge our collective lives. Will we pass on to them an understanding of garden ecology, or will our liberal use of chemical pollutants and other harmful substances render the future gardenerís soil sterile and lifeless? Will the gardeners of the future be forced to practice their techniques in artificial environments because we killed the Earthís capacity to support life? 

These questions are just a few of the daunting topics that face gardening enthusiasts as the next millennium begins. How will we face the fact that our planet is shrinking and each time we use a synthetic chemical in our gardens we affect our fellow inhabitants? This is certainly an exciting time for all of us who enjoy gardening to consider the consequences of our choices. Thanks to our ability to grow our own food, cultivate attractive landscapes, and provide tender loving care to show-stopping flowers, we have all combined to make gardening the most popular hobby in North America. The numbers of us who garden without using chemicals has been increasing by amazing percentages. Seed companies are reporting record sales and garden centers are seeing more of us than ever before. There is an affirmation here someplace. Can it be that we are in fact becoming more aware of the incredible planet we inhabit and how unique our place in the animal kingdom is? I believe that we have finally reached an awareness of our environment that touches us daily. Isnít evolution great! 

The garden of the millennium is the Earth. And we are the gardeners. Our opportunity to show our reverence and respect for what is likely to be the only planet we will get to live on has fully arrived. We are the stewards of an amazing piece of real estate that has provided us with shelter, food, and spiritual nourishment. It is finally the time for us to actively engage in caring for the home that has cared for us forever. As we all enter into the challenges that will face us in the new millennium, letís take stock in the challenges Mother Nature has faced while watching us grow. 

As you go through a list of the greatest experiences in your life, how many times does something from nature pop into your head? Could have been a trip to John Muirís Yosemite? How about the birth of a child? For me it was the first time I actually figured out that the plant came from a seed, grew, and then gave me corn on the cob. The full realization of this completely changed my life and my respect for life. I write to many of you out of this respect for the system that allows plants to grow and produce food, beautiful flowers, and shelter. I donít look at trees and see two-by-fours, but I certainly appreciate the fact that lumber is a by-product of the life of that tree. A legacy of the tree, so to speak. 

What will our legacy be? Will we be known as the species that got smart and nurtured the Earth out of respect, or the one that drove ourselves to the brink of extinction because we couldnít see how our lives impacted our home. This little bit of silliness is not written to get you to do anything other than reflect on what your legacy will be. I only wax philosophical for the purpose of stimulating thought. You and I both have identical purposes here on this planet and are thus equally responsible for how we care for this planet. Yes, it is easier to write about it than to do it. That is why so many advice givers are more screwed up than those to whom they give advice. We are all equally tasked with the health of this home and thus the purpose for the greeting in these columns. 

Well fellow Earthlings, welcome to the garden of the millennium. It is our personal Eden to enjoy, love, and care for. In the following year we will continue with our discussions on the fun and creative ways we can tend to our gardens without resorting to rescue chemistry. We will have lots of fun with roses, fruit, veggies, flowers, lawns, pest and disease controls, and other entertaining and informative topics. Last year I wished you all a Happy New Year by giving you my wish for your prosperity. I do hope that my wish came true and this year I wish for all of you the understanding that you are unique and incredibly valuable members of a society that cares for and is nurturing of she who gives us life. Next time we will be discussing seed catalogs and starting seeds indoors to get a head start on spring. Iíll see you in the Garden of the Millennium! 

Got questions? Fax the Doc at (760) 632-8175 or E-mail him at Don Trotterís Natural Gardening columns appear nationally in environmentally-sensitive publications. Look for his book ďNatural Gardening A-ZĒ from Hay House at bookstores everywhere and at all online booksellers, and check out Donís columns in Hearstís Healthy Living Magazine coming in March.

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