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Garden Walk: Green Thumbs are Good for the Environment

As our cool and wet July comes to an end and the annual
display of flora creativity, Garden Walk, approaches, Great Lakes United encourages
you to tour five gardens highlighted on the Walk that prioritize sustainable
gardening practices. While some
people may think that you need a huge landscaping budget to use sustainable
practices, these gardens show what you can do with a little knowledge, work and
creativity.

Ashland garden.png749 Ashland: Rain Garden (above) – This garden doesn’t mind a rainy forecast. A front yard rain garden diverts runoff from going into the sewer. Runoff from our paved areas leads to sewage overflows into our streams and Great Lakes every time it rains. This garden was designed on a limited budget, and filled with water-loving plants from Urban Roots.

31 Brayton: Green Roof (not shown) –
Living roofs aren’t just novelties, constructed on top of office buildings in
Chicago and Toronto, they are also here in residential neighborhoods in Buffalo.
Green roofs are covered with a layer of soil and vegetation.

193 15th native.png
193 15th: Bio-remediation Native Wildflower Garden (above) – This garden demonstrates the healthy power of
remediation. Contaminated sediments in urban areas impact human health and
leach into the ground, degrading the quality of groundwater.
retree tree farm.png
309 14th (above) – Between Vermont
and Rhode Island, the Teaching Tree farm – Re-Tree Western New York was formed to
help reforest Buffalo and surrounding areas hit hard by the 2006 October
snowstorm. Re-Tree is both a
forest oasis on the west side and is economically savvy. By raising young trees
itself, Re-Tree will be able to distribute many more trees throughout the
region than if bought mature.
mass ave.png389 Massachusetts: Urban
farm, including a straw bale greenhouse (above) – Growing Green’s Urban Farm. The
farm employs 50 youths every year, who are in turn taught how to farm, develop recipes
with the produce they grow, and market their goods. Ask about how you can help by “adopting-a-bed” at the farm. 
While you might not all be able to build a straw bale green house in your yard or your landlord won’t let you install a green roof, visiting these eco-friendly gardens remind us of our interconnections with the natural surroundings, and demonstrates that we all
have the power to make choices for a healthier environment. By taking small,
individual steps, we can all make a big change for our waters. And our yards
can look great doing it. 
Enjoy the weekend, and we
hope this is a start of a trend, with even more sustainable gardens showcased
on Garden Walk 2010!
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