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Allan designs and plants flowering gardens in Montreal, Zone 5 [USDA Zone 4] .

See website, design work and favorite flowering plants at

Consultation and coaching for do-it-yourselfers is provided. Occasional emailed questions are welcome and answered free of charge. Oui, je parle francais.

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Entries in irrigation (2)


The Intelligent Use of Water Awards: A Grant Program for Water Conservation

Water is the most precious resource on earth. Without it, no life can exist. That not only refers to plants and animals but to human beings as well. That is why I was enthusiastic to participate when Sarah Eigner of Intelligent Use of Water Awards contacted me, asking if I would promote a contest for grant money for water conservation projects, sponsored by Rain Bird, an irrigation supplier.

I receive requests on a weekly basis, asking me to promote or link to products and services. I decline most of them because they do not reflect the focus of my blog or because they are nothing more than blatant commercial plugs. However, when I do mention a product, person or service it is because I believe my readers will appreciate or enjoy learning about the subject.


World Water Day will be observed on March 22, 2011, in order to promote the efficient use of water, the importance of green spaces and the sustainability of nature. To mark that event, Rain Bird is donating $50,000 to be awarded to water conservation projects, voted to be the most popular. Anyone with Internet access can submit their project idea to one of three funding categories ($1500, $5000, and $10,000) and then share it in social media.

Users can then vote and the projects with the most votes will be are awarded grant money on World Water Day, March 22, 2011.

At best, this is an opportunity to get funding in order to realize a dream project related to the conservation of water. At least, it will publicize ideas germinating in communities around the country and allow conservationists to share information about the inspiring projects of others. The process leading up to the awards could be educational both for participants and voters.

Some may be put off by the fact that the award program is underwritten by a commercial supplier of irrigation products. Don’t be! Look upon this gesture as an opportunity that might result in a net contribution to a significant water conservation program. It is of little consequence where the money for a sustainability program comes from because grant funds allow us to tackle a problem immediately. There is no longer a need to navigate the maze of government bureaucracy, begging for help. The planet is the ultimate beneficiary.

For more information about the Intelligent Use of Water Awards, here is a link to the site;


Celebrating Earth Day is Two Weeks Away

If we are to continue to survive on this planet, we must find a sustainable way to preserve our natural resources and the integrity of our bodies. Observing Earth Day is a way to remember that all of us must do anything pro-active to protect the planet. Some are well on their way in taking this matter into their own hands. Those that live on arable land, no matter how small, have begun to grow their own produce. Others, who live in dense urban locales, are opting to shop for organic produce and protein by linking up with farmers’ co-ops and farmers’ markets that deliver locally, and sustainably grown, healthy food into the cities.

Wise gardeners have begun using drip hoses, instead of sprinklers, to preserve water where it has become precious, and they are judiciously re examining the use of certain herbicides and pesticides that trickle down into the water tables. For others, composting kitchen scraps and garden waste to reuse in the garden as nutrients for plants, is becoming the reality. Farms, degraded by overproduction, await restoration so that nature’s balance of wildlife and plants may return to preserve the rejuvenated land. Furthermore, we must ensure that the heating and cooling systems of our homes and work places are the most energy efficient that prevailing technology allows.

Driving fuel-efficient cars is still a controversial topic. Few have addressed the question of how much energy a power plant must generate in order to recharge an electric car battery; while the use of bio-fuel to run cars and trucks has created unforeseen problems in the food chain. Another unresolved matter concerns global warming. It is still unclear what portion of the warming of the earth is a natural, cyclical phenomenon and what portion is attributable to human behavior. It is also unclear how much effect humans will have on this natural cycle, if such behavior can ever be modified on a global scale.

What is certain, however, is that human behavior pollutes an earth that is supposed to sustain us. If we are to remain healthy, cleaning up our environment has to start with us, at the community level, because it is unrealistic to expect governments of heavily industrialized nations to lead on this matter. And it has to start now!

Furthermore, nothing will be accomplished if environmentally friendly folk continue to dialogue endlessly only with each other. All of that energy, both human and capital, should be spent on improving the environment where we live, because it appears to be so much easier to introduce new ideas, locally, than at the federal level. For example, in the American Southwest, individual communities are successfully regulating landscape irrigation by capturing rainwater with innovative recycling sewer systems. In California, new standards of emissions will be implemented shortly. This environmentally significant move will take place in conjunction with several other American states and a few Canadian provinces that, jointly, will turn these emission standards into law. This has been accomplished without the circus and fanfare that usually accompanies dealing with controversial issues.

In some parts of the world, the value of life, other than one’s own, remains dismayingly low. In other places, what happens outside the village boundaries is of no consequence to local inhabitants. Therefore, it would be naïve to assume that there will be global consensus on saving the planet in the very near future. In the meanwhile, each of us can do our share to restore and heal that portion of the earth that we appreciate by starting, literally, in our own back yard. Please observe Earth Day on Thursday April 22, 2010 with an act of kindness to the land that surrounds you. To find out what you can do, visit the EPA web site.

This post was created with the encouragement of Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project.