Sustainability: a garden image

If you have a garden or an allotment, it can be useful to, from time to time, walk through and get the big picture. As you go, you’ll note what’s doing well, what needs harvesting or dead-heading, what needs some TLC and where the weeds are outgrowing the plants. While I was at Yearly Meeting this year, through a chain of thoughts too tedious to recount here, it occurred to me that this image might help me to work out what’s going in with my attempts to lower my carbon footprint and live more sustainably. So here is a tour of my sustainability garden.

Let’s start with one of the oldest plants – ‘eat less meat’ in sustainability terms. I’ve been growing a tree of vegetarianism for a long time, and it flowered into nearly-vegan a couple of years ago. It still needs looking after – there a times when choosing not to eat diary is choosing not to eat, and I’m not actually up for that. (Eating out, mainly, especially when there are other people’s needs to meet as well.) In the more general food bed around the vegan-tree some things are organic and some aren’t; and worryingly, I’ve got all these plastic-packets growing. They’re a very tenacious weed and although I’ve cut them down a bit it seems almost impossible to stop them arriving with the food.

The next bed is transport flowers. These pretty little blue ones are walking, and those are growing well this year. (A lot of people grow cycle flowers here, too, but I don’t.) I’ve got lots and lots of these train-travel flowers this year, too, and at the back you can see the final few leaves from the couple of plane flights I grew last year. I haven’t planted any more, but I didn’t intend to plant last year’s, either – they were volunteers, so to speak. You can see a scattering of the purple getting-a-lift flowers, here and over there. No driving-myselfs this year, though, although perhaps the seeds are in the soil.

My energy-saving corner is a bit sad – a few simple things like better light bulbs have been planted, but I haven’t got space for all the fancy things they sell in the garden centre – solar panels and wind turbines and all that. I never know quite what to do with this.

Finally, I’m building a better path so that it’s easier to come and visit – and so that I can go out from the garden more easily. I’m think I might be building a path to my local council offices. They could be helping a lot with the bus-flowers, for example – you didn’t spot those? No, there are a few but they’re not always where I want them to be!


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