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Take advantage of natural rain fall — install a rain barrel on your downspout. Plant pollinator friendly flowers — like chives. 8. Install a rain barrel. Rain barrels are a wonderful

way to save on high water bills. They are simple to use, just hook them up to your downspout and save all that water headed for the storm sewers to water your plants. 9. Recycle in the garden. Use newspapers and flyers

for seedling pots or cut non-glossy paper up and add it to your compost pile. Don’t forget to recycle all those plastic plant pots and trays! 10. Trust Mother Nature. Planting native species is

not only good for preventing the spread of invasive species that are trying to choke them out in the wild but they also help our local ecosystems. Take milkweed as a perfect example. It used to flourish in the wild, now it, and the butterflies that depend on it for survival, are disappearing. So help Mother Nature and your local ecosystems – plant and support native species. 11. Plant a pollinator garden. Our bee populations are

suffering worldwide. Plant a pollinator garden to provide these crucial insects with essential food sources. Bees are responsible for 70 per cent of the world’s food production, planting some flowers, shrubs or trees for them isn’t really asking too much. 12. Start a bee/bug hotel. Bee hotels as they are

commonly referred to are another way to help solitary bees, like mason and leaf miners, which are becoming increasingly important as other species decline. Be sure to build and care for your hotel properly to protect the bees from predatory insects, fungus and disease. See page 28 to learn how to make a bee hotel.

13. Invite song into the garden. Birds are a crucial

part of our ecosystem; invite them into your garden by putting up birdhouses, bird feeders, bird baths and tasty treats. Encourage them to stay and visit, you’ll be rewarded by beautiful songs and plumage. 14. Out with the weeds! Weeds are freeloaders that

use up the nutrients and water in your soil overpowering the plants you want to grow. Pull them out, or if you can’t beat them, eat them! Do some research; many weeds are wonderful food sources. Dandelion leaves, yes, as in the dreaded dandelion, are delicious. Gather young leaves, blanche them to remove the bitterness, and use them as you would spinach in soups, stir fries, pastas and more! 15. Living architecture. Whether it is a living wall

(walls covered in plants rooted in a growing medium), or a roof garden, architecture is taking an increasingly notice- able role in eco-gardening projects. The magnitude and value of these projects have incredible benefits for our envi- ronment. It may not be for everyone, but perhaps on the roof of a garden shed or wall of a gazebo? Just saying… There are many more techniques to increase the eco-

friendly aspects of your garden; these are just the simple ones. Landscape architects can also offer advice on using greywater and designing your yard to maximize resources. Whether you go it alone, seek professional advice for even more eco-friendly garden options or just incorporate one of the above suggestions, you can take comfort in know- ing that everything you do is helping our planet and our environment. v

Invite birds into your garden with a bird feeder. Put up an insect home — see page 28 to find out how to build your own.

20 • Summer 2016

Banish weeds — they take precious nutrients away from your plants.

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