Plants & Gardening

I have a passion for plants.

  • Plants & Gardening

    7 Outstanding Plants For Early Fall Blooms

    Silk Tree, 7 Outstanding Plants That Bloom in Early Fall, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/09/14/7-plants-for-early-fall, #plants, #gardening #earlyfall #blooms #flowers #trees #shrubs #perennials #fallcolor #garden

    At this time of year, most blooming plants have finished their show and are just enduring the heat until the rains come. Buddleia, phygelius, fuchsia, echinacea, and cistus still offer a few blooms, thank goodness, but late summer / early fall is not when they shine. Here are 7 of my favorite plants that bloom in late August or early September in my garden.

    Silk Tree

    Albizia julibrissin, or Silk Tree (above photo), is an elegant, feathery tree that has a broad canopy and delicate, divided leaves. In August, fan-like, wispy flowers of white and pink cover the surface of the foliage, providing a stunning, tropical look. I love how the flowers sit atop the leaves instead of hang beneath. There’s a purple leaved cultivar named ‘Summer Chocolate.’ Though it likes to bake in the sun, it does have a few drawbacks: the branches can break during strong winds, leaving wounds in the main trunk, and it’s susceptible to verticillium wilt. It also leafs out much later than other trees. But given it’s own sunny space, the tree is a graceful, eye-catching specimen.

    Bluebeard
    Caryopteris x clandonensis, or Bluebeard

    Caryopteris x clandonensis, or Bluebeard, is a tough shrub, hardy down to Zone 6. It matches well with our Mediterranean-like summers in the Northwest. It’s drought-tolerant but doesn’t mind our winter rain, needs little to no pruning, and in August blooms with pretty blue flowers. Sometimes branches can be brittle and twiggy but cleaning them out is easy enough. Caryopteris ‘Sunshine Blue’ is a yellow-leaved cultivar that literally does glow like a sun. It will pop with color from far away. It has lighter blue flowers but the foliage really makes this plant worth growing.

    Harlequin Glorybower
    Clerodendrum trichotomum, or Harlequin Glorybower

    I have Clerodendrum trichotomum, or Harlequin Glorybower, planted not far from my patio so I can smell it when it blooms. The fragrance is strong and spicy! It’s known for spadal leaves that smell like burnt peanut butter when rubbed, but that smell is nothing compared to the white starry flowers in bloom. After the flowers fade, shiny, blue berries take their place for a beautiful pattern of pink and indigo. Drawbacks to this small tree include its running habit, where small stalks emerge near the mother tree and its weak, crunchy, breakable stems. Still, the scent of this tree in the heat of August can not be beat! Just don’t prune it, otherwise it will grow into an ugly mess.

    Crepe Myrtle
    Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Zuni,’ or Zuni Crape Myrtle

    Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei ‘Zuni,’ or Zuni Crape Myrtle, is one of my favorite trees for a Seattle yard. You can spot it from a mile away. Stunning magenta flowers, pretty mottled bark, and tight glossy foliage. It’s a smaller, multi-stemmed tree that fits nicely in the corner of a city yard. It needs little care save for a hot sunny location and good drainage.

    Black-eyed Susan
    Black-eyed Susan, The 10 Best Perennials for Sun, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/07/01/best-perennials-for-sun/ #perennials #blackeyedsusan #rudbeckia #goldsturm #flowers #plants #yellow #sun #easy #best
    Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’

    Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susans, are an oldie but a goodie perennial. I love the bright, cheery daisy-shaped flowers and sunny color. When happy, Black-eyed Susans, spread voraciously so watch out. But it’s easy enough to put a spade in the ground, cut some out, and pass them onto neighbors. My only complaint generally with Black-eyed Susans is in winter they leave stringy threads about. There’s a cool cultivar called ‘Cherry Brandy’ that has cherry-colored petals with a blackish center. This is more of a bushier, self-contained perennial, rather than thin-stemmed and spreading. It has bold color. If you’re a newbie gardener and want to grow something low-maintenance, any Rudbeckia is a great choice.

    Stonecrop
    Sedum, The 10 Best Perennials for Sun, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2020/07/01/best-perennials-for-sun/ #perennials #sedum #stonecrop #brilliant #droughttolerant #flowers #plants #pink #sun #easy #best
    Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’

    Sedum spectabile ‘Brilliant’ is a succulent perennial that grows in poor soil with little water. It starts out with cute rosettes in early spring that then elongate into rubbery stalks whose flat flowers turn from bright pink, to red, to maroon, and finally brown. Even though the stalks dry during autumn, they hold their shape, offering nice structure for winter. And birds feed off the seedheads. Sedum ‘Brilliant’ is an easy care perennial that I do little to except for cutting away dried stalks in early spring. If you plant Sedum ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Autumn Joy’ and the stalks flop over, it probably means your soil is too rich. Think desert conditions with these plants. Sun, well-draining soil, rocks, etc.

    Chaste Tree
    Vitex agnus-castus,’ or Chaste Tree

    Vitex agnus-castus, or Chaste Tree, sends out spikes of a long, blue inflorescences during the hottest part of the season. This tree likes to bake in the sun, and though I call it a “tree,” it’s really more of a tall shrub, forming a rounded habit that will bounce back surprisingly even after the toughest winters. It also loves dry conditions. Good for a parking strip.

    For more information on these plants, check out the Oregon State University landscape database. Happy gardening!

  • Plants & Gardening

    3 Beautiful Blue Plants That Will Survive a Heat Wave

    Blue Star Juniper and Ajuga, 3 Beautiful Blue Plants That Will Survive a Heat Wave, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/07/13/blue-plants/(opens in a new tab) #plants #gardening #blueplants #droughttolerant #plantsforsun #toughplants #heatwave

    As much of the U.S. (and Europe) copes with warmer heat waves, you may be looking for plants that can thrive in hot sun. Blue plants often fit this profile since they create a waxy coating that protects them from hot sun and helps them hold water. And what’s even more enjoyable for us is that waxy coating makes them appear blue, thus creating an unusually pretty accent in the garden.

    So if you want a tough, interesting looking plant, try these three below. They pair well with dark-leafed plants or boldy colored perennials.

    Blue Star Juniper
    Blue Star Juniper, 3 Beautiful Blue Plants That Will Survive a Heat Wave, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/07/13/blue-plants/(opens in a new tab) #plants #gardening #blueplants #droughttolerant #plantsforsun #toughplants #heatwave

    I love this little sub-shrub because it’s hardy down to zone 4, evergreen, and wonderfully dense in its foliage. That means it shades weeds out easily. Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ also requires very little supplemental water, which is handy if you’re planting a city parking strip or rock garden. Also, it won’t grow beyond about a foot or so in height but spreads gently in all directions. I have five lining the front of a sunny perennial bed and they work well with purple sedums, ajuga, or salvias (see top photo).

    Blue Surprise Falsecypress
    Blue Surprise Falsecypress, 3 Beautiful Blue Plants That Will Survive a Heat Wave, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/07/13/blue-plants/(opens in a new tab) #plants #gardening #blueplants #droughttolerant #plantsforsun #toughplants #heatwave

    Blue Surprise False Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Blue Surprise’) is a small evergreen tree that stuns in the landscape. It’s bluer in color than vertical juniper trees, albeit those are pretty too. But I like this tree because it’s very behaved in its form. You won’t ever need to prune it unless it creates a few dead lower branches. And it adds a lovely spire-like accent to a mixed shrub border. I have two flanking a small circular patio in an area blasted by hot sun. Hardy to zone 5 and gets to about 10 feet tall at maturity. Great for front entrances or where space is tight.

    Blue Limber Pine
    Blue Limber Pine, 3 Beautiful Blue Plants That Will Survive a Heat Wave, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/07/13/blue-plants/(opens in a new tab) #plants #gardening #blueplants #droughttolerant #plantsforsun #toughplants #heatwave

    I normally don’t care for pine trees. They often drop needles and sometimes need pruning at the tips, but I love this Blue Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis ‘Cesarini Blue’). It grows in a small, puffy, pyramidal shape so it’s great for screening out unwanted views. Also, it’s hardy to zone 4 and can take dry areas. In fact, since it’s a pine, it will probably do better in a garden in Colorado with dryer, colder winters than in the rainy Pacific Northwest. At maturity, it tops out at 20 feet but during the first several years will hang out at around 10 feet. Unusual specimen.

    I realized in writing this that I happened to choose three conifers so in a future post, I’ll spotlight some blue-leafed perennials. I’m thinking hosta, euphorbia, rue, and more. Until then, happy planting!

  • Plants & Gardening

    The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden

    Karen Hugg Back Garden, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #lawn

    Last weekend, I opened my garden to the public. I’d agreed to share my large, albeit imperfect, sanctuary, because I’d wanted to help people be social again and get things back to “normal.” But that simple yes meant months of weeding, digging, transplanting, and all else. Lots of hauling. I also stressed every night about the garden looking tidy and cheery for visitors. All this while my back slowly tightened and my body created a fiery pain I’ve never experienced before.

    In the end, the tour went well. Hundreds of visitors came through and I even sold a good number of my books, including my newest, Leaf Your Troubles Behind. I got to chat about gardening all day, helping people discover cool plants while meeting plant aficionados. It was lovely. I went to bed relieved and tired.

    A couple friends who couldn’t make it asked me to post photos online. So here’s how the garden looked in June of 2022.

    The 3B’s Island Bed

    I have a flame-shaped island bed near the house that gets full sun. A long time ago, I planted a spine of shrubs down the middle for winter structure. Then I planted perennials and low shrubs along the spine.

    Perennials in Island Bed, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #perennials
    Shrubs and perennials in the island bed

    Each plant I chose to attract bees, butterflies, or birds. These include butterfly bush (buddleia), blue-leaf rose (rosa glauca), smokebush (cotinus), escallonia, spiraea, weigela, false indigo (baptisia), coneflower (echinacea), sage (salvia), crocosmia, and more.

    The 3B's island bed, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #islandbed
    The 3B’s Island Bed

    I also have a border that gets shade from an oak in the morning and a blast of hot afternoon sun. At first, this area plagued me as I tried plants that I thought would work but didn’t. It was either too sunny or too shady. So I tried hardy fuchsias. They thrived without much help from me at all.

    Foxgloves in Oak Border, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #foxgloves #variegated dogwood
    Volunteer foxgloves in the oak border

    Then, to play off those deep purple and magenta tones, I planted blue star junipers (juniperus) and blue surprise false cypress (chamaecyparis). I contrasted these with a purple-leafed hyndrangea (Hydrangea ‘Plum Passion’), purple coral bells (heuchera), and fringe flowers (loropetalum). Finally, I filled in with crocosmia, Japanese forest grasses, and hostas. A gold variegated dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Summer Gold’), pictured above in background, anchors the whole thing.

    The Oak Tree Border, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #purpleplants
    Path through the oak tree border

    My most prized plant is my Chilean fire tree (embothrium coccineum). It’s native to the mountains of Chile and blooms in bold orange flowers. Hummingbirds love them!

    Chilean Fire Tree, The Oak Tree Border, The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #chileanfirebush
    Chilean Fire Tree

    My front border is mostly shady and I’ve had decent success with it outside of when the deer find my one large hosta. It’s a mix of aucuba, hydrangea, fuchsia, heucheras, and rhododendrons.

    My front woodland border

    Oftentimes, when people visit my yard, they ask about my favorite hosta in the whole world. It’s not only blue, gold, and chartreuse, it’s also slug-resistant since it has corrugated leaves. It’s hosta ‘June,’ a low-maintenance hosta that needs shade, water, and not much else to look stunning.

    Hosta 'June,' The Joyful Struggle of Creating a Beautiful Garden, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/06/24/Karen Hugg's garden, #KarenHugg #garden #gardening #plants #hosta #june
    Hosta ‘June’

    Now, that the tour is over, I’ve been relaxing on my patio and enjoying the tidy garden. I realized that sharing it inspired a lot of folks. Several people, with sparks in their eyes, told me they were ready to dig into a new design or seek out the unusual plants they’d seen. Their excitement makes my long hours of backbreaking work worth it.


  • Plants & Gardening

    Why You Need to Buy Slow Flowers this Mother’s Day

    Debra Prinzing, Why You Need to Buy Slow Flowers this Mother's Day, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/05/02/slow-flowers/(opens in a new tab) #slowflowers #flowers #Mother'sDay #gardening #plants #DebraPrinzing #local

    Seattle author and gardener Debra Prinzing knows flowers. In addition to writing books on gardening, Prinzing started the “slow flowers” movement. It encourages people to buy locally grown flowers rather than imported ones from faraway countries. Foreign growers often spray dangerous chemicals on their crops and employ low-wage workers in not-great conditions. Plus, the environmental cost of shipping flowers in chilled containers and planes across thousands of miles is massive.

    But saying “I love you” is important, especially with a lovely bouquet that relaxes the soul. And Prinzing has found a more environmentally sustainable way to do that. So check out our chat below. We talked about the “slow flowers” movement and why a locally grown bouquet is a wonderful gift this Mother’s Day season.

    Why should people buy Slow Flowers instead of supermarket flowers?

    It’s simple. To me, sourcing local flowers is part of my moral compass. Our planet is at risk and yet the floral marketplace is based on an unsustainable model. We buy a perishable product (some would argue a “luxury” product) from one or more continents away that’s shipped on jets. Slow Flowers believes the production and consumption of a long-distance, perishable product is unsustainable and devours many valuable resources (jet fuel, packaging, water, etc.). Slow Flowers supports the alternative, locally and domestically grown flowers.

    As an avid gardener, I know the flowers I love thrive in my own backyard. That’s another argument for not importing flowers. We can grow them ourselves with a much smaller footprint. And we support local farmers when we keep our dollars in our own community.

    How did this movement begin?

    The seeds of the Slow Flowers Society began after I wrote two books, The 50 Mile Bouquet and Slow Flowers. As I spoke to audiences and media around the country, people often asked, how do I find flower farmers and florists who supply local flowers? For months, I thought, “someone should start a directory.” Then, by the end of 2013, I dove into planning slowflowers.com. It’s a free national directory of florists, shops, studios, and farms that supply American-grown flowers.

    The directory was intended to serve consumers but it also created great connections between growers and florists. Before creating it, I launched the Slow Flowers Podcast in July, 2013. I featured conversations with people in the directory. Those two channels brought people together. And in ensuing years, we created a vibrant, diverse community of creatives, farmers, makers, and floral artists who gather under this inclusive idea.

    Even though verification programs for organically grown flowers exist, here and abroad, growing and certifying organically grown flowers can be tricky. How important is it for someone to buy an organically grown flower?

    The USDA’s Organic Certification was originally created for food agriculture. Flower farmers who use organic growing methods often produce more than 100 distinct floral varieties in a given season. So their diversity actually makes the USDA application cumbersome. Most small-scale farmers are committed to sustainable, aka organic, methods such as no-till agriculture practices, planting cover crops, attracting beneficial insects (good bugs), no use of pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, and more. For these reasons, I feel very comfortable buying local flowers from a boutique grower.

    In some regions, like here in the PNW, there are unique, third-party certifications. All of the flower farmers who are part of the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market are “Salmon Safe Certified.” That means their farming practices have been evaluated to make sure there are no fertilizers or other amendments harming our salmon habitat.

    Another national organization, based on a peer-to-peer verification, is Certified Naturally Grown. Many flower farmers pursue that type of outside verification as an alternative to USDA Organic Certification.

    My advice? Get to know your local flower farmer. If it’s possible to visit the farm on an open day, do so! Ask them about their methods and you’ll learn how passionate they are about enhancing their land with earth-safe practices.

    What are some of the more commonly available “slow flowers?” Does it vary by region and what’s most native to an area?

    OMG, the list is endless! Each region certainly has its unique growing conditions. For example, the humidity in the south is hard on crops like dahlias. The lack of sustained hot weather in the PNW means some summer annuals don’t hit their stride until September.

    Here are some of the popular seasonal “stars” in the Slow Flowers Movement:

    Early-to-Late Spring: flowering bulbs (tulips, narcissus, anemones, ranunculus); flowering branches (forsythia, quince, cherry, plum, etc.)

    Late Spring to Summer: perennials including peonies, columbine, lady’s mantle, foxglove, poppies, hellebores; ornamental shrubs like viburnum and lilac

    Summer: garden roses, lavender, all the annual crops (sweet peas, sunflower, zinnia, celosia, snapdragon, stock, marigolds, rudbeckia, strawflower)

    Late Summer: Dahlias, dahlias, dahlias, more annuals, like amaranth; flowering shrubs like hydrangeas; ornamentals shrubs for foliage like cotinus and physocarpus (ninebark).

    Fall: heirloom mums

    Oftentimes large commercial growers dunk roses in fungicide to preserve their appearance. How can people find roses that are grown with fewer fungicides and pesticides for this Mother’s Day?

    It’s nearly impossible to find “safe” roses for Mother’s Day unless you plan ahead and order in advance. The California rose growers who are shipping for Mother’s Day probably already have a cut-off date of 5/4.

    Here are two members shipping roses at this time:

    Menagerie: https://www.menagerieflower.com/fresh-cut-flowers
    Rose Story Farm: https://rosestoryfarm.com/retail-orders

    Other advice? I recommend giving your Mom a rose plant, plus a copy of our wonderful new BLOOM Imprint book about garden rose growing called Growing Wonder.

    Who is Slow Flowers Society for?

    The Slow Flowers Society is for flower lovers, both enthusiasts and professionals. It’s for anyone who cares about supporting domestic floral agriculture and sustainable design practices in the floral marketplace. Learn more at slowflowerssociety.com.

    The Slow Flowers Society challenges assumptions about who can be a farmer. Also, we see flower growing as a legitimate form of agriculture. Flowers can be an economic engine for positive, sustainable change. The Slow Flowers Society is redefining what is beautiful in floristry. We embrace seasonality and show respect for the environment. Our progressive society wants to radically prioritize inclusivity, equity and representation in flower farming and floral design.


    Who is Debra Prinzing?

    Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for domestic, local and seasonal flowers. She produces SlowFlowers.com, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops, and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Download her “Slow Flowers Podcast” for free at debraprinzing.com, or on iTunes.

    In 2016, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market honored her with the Growers Choice Award for her “outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community.” She is a 2016 inductee to the Garden Writers Association Hall of Fame and Professional Floral Communicators International. Debra has authored 12 books, including Slow Flowers, The 50 Mile Bouquet and Where we Bloom.

    Photo by (c) Missy Palacol photography


  • Plants & Gardening

    Happy Earth Day! 5 Tips to Help Our Beautiful Planet

    Earth globe, Happy Earth Day! 5 Tips to Help Our Beautiful Planet, Karen Hugg, https://karenhugg.com/2022/04/22/earth day/(opens in a new tab), #earth #earthday #globe #environment #tips #planet #climatechange #globalwarming

    Happy Earth Day, everyone! Today is a day when I pause to reflect on how beautiful this planet is and how lucky we are to have another day to live on it. When you think about it, you realize how amazing it is that this rock in space can support all of our lives. And the earth does it with such noble silence and forgiveness for our human silliness. Aren’t we lucky?

    In my own life, I try to do what I can to help the planet sustain itself. I’m not perfect, I still drive a combustible engine car and heat my home with gas. But until those new electric vehicles hit the market and solar panels come down in price, I do a few tiny things to emit less CO2 and curb my pollution and waste. Here’s what I do:

    Recycle Everything I Possibly Can

    Sometimes my husband thinks I’m a weirdo because I’ve trained my family to recycle almost everything. For instance, I discovered our local transfer station (read: dump) accepts styrofoam blocks, bubble wrap, and almost all plastic bags (including bread and veggie bags) for recycling. So every plastic bag that comes into our house goes into a bin in the pantry closet. After a month or two, I put all of those bags in one larger white trash bag and take it to the recycling bin at the transfer station. Easy.

    I also recycle every can, bottle, and container. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that our recycling is only going into giant piles in the country and not shipped over seas where it’s properly recycled. But our waste service still wants us to separate and recycle anyway until they find a new solution. So I do because there’s no sense in all of those granola bar boxes going into a landfill. I mean after all, a tree helped us make that box.

    With this approach, our family of five produces very little garbage. The only thing in the garbage now is styrofoam food containers and plastic that’s been soiled by food, and various bathroom items. Most everything else is recycled. And that small amount of garbage keeps our service bill down since we use a smaller can.

    I Walk or Take Public Transportation Instead of Drive

    On days when I don’t have a lot to haul, I’ll walk to the library or grocery store or for coffee. Because I still drive a combustible engine car, I take five seconds and consider whether my trip is worth the emissions. Sometimes it is, like when I take my daughter to her teen group meeting, or I have to bring home a load of groceries, but if it’s just to get a cup of coffee or buy a gift at the bookstore, I usually walk. This, in addition, to reducing emissions, gives me steps and extra exercise, which brightens my mood and improves my focus.

    Similarly, Seattle now has a train that goes to the airport. One of my favorite little rituals is to ride the train to and from the airport instead of driving. Driving often means struggling through clogged traffic for almost an hour. So taking the train means I arrive wherever I’m going with less stress. Plus, I can relax and read a book!

    I Keep the Temperature Lower

    I’m not going to lie, I need to heat my house comfortably. If you live in the north, you usually do. But instead of cranking the thermostat to 72 like I really want to, I usually keep it at 68. What do I do to make up the difference? Well, one word: wool. A yummy wool sweater and a wool blanket. The beauty of wool over polyester (also a plastic) is that wool breathes well. It keeps you warm and cozy and dry. A polyester throw keeps you warm and then too warm and your body gets clammy. So I keep the thermostat a little lower and wear a wool shirt, socks, and sweater. I also use a beautifully knitted wool throw I bought from an Irish maker. Check it out here.

    Along these lines, I lower the temperature on the water when I do laundry. Doing a load of clothes in cool water saves gas and emissions. Also, keeping your hot water tank at a higher temperature actually saves gas. I learned this from our hot water repairman. Because the temperature is higher, you use less hot water when doing dishes or showering. You just have to be careful to adjust the faucet so you don’t get scorched.

    I Practice Organic and Sustainable Gardening

    Of course, I could write a whole post on this. But overall, I plant plants that like the conditions of their location. For sunny areas, I plant sun-loving, low-water plants. For shady spots, I grow plants that like the shade and Seattle rain. I don’t grow a lot of plants that need extra care or fertilizer. When I do fertilize, I fertilize with an organic fish fertilizer rather than a chemical mix. This prevents chemicals from leaching down through the soil and into our water table below. And plants actually grow more robustly for a longer time with natural fertilizer anyway. If you want to learn more about good garden plants and their conditions, check out these articles.

    I know a sprinkler system sounds fancy, but it’s actually a great investment, particularly the kind with emitters on shorter stakes. Or even just drip hoses. Instead of watering with an oscillating lawn sprinkler, which often waters a sidewalk or misses certain areas of the garden, I have a sprinkler system that sends water straight to the plants. This allows me to water for a shorter duration.

    I Re-Use Bottles and Bags

    Single-use plastic bottles and bags require energy and labor to make. And yet we use these things for maybe a few hours at most. Not to sound preachy, but we have a huge chunk of plastic hanging out in our oceans right now. This pollutes the water and affects sea life, sometimes even killing it. We don’t really need to add to that, right? So if you want to help our waterways, buy a metal water bottle and re-use it. Take paper bags back to your grocery store. The trees and fish will thank you.

    Overall, if we just take a minute to think about our actions, we can make small easy adjustments to help the planet. For instance, if you wash your car at home, do it with eco-friendly soap so the runoff doesn’t go into the sewer and your nearest river, lake, or ocean. Because that’s where it often goes. If you have paint to dispose off, dry it out before putting in the garbage. If you have the financial resources, switch your kitchen stove from gas to electric. With a little extra effort, we can all do a tiny bit to help this big beautiful pearl we call home.