Through combining workshop style assignments with research and ‘hands-on’ experience, Wright shares eco-strategies that respect an existing vista, preserving and enhancing its health. “For,” as she says, “any style landscape, plants should not simply be a result of traditional design but be the right plant, installed in the right place at the right (optimal) planting season - creating landscape green, sustainable urban/suburban communities that enhance green space for today and future generations.”
Barnes & Noble.com
Recognized for her ongoing eco-chic activities, Wright is the recipient of the 2008 Turn America from Eco-weak to Eco-chic Award.
Words of Praise for Wright's Work –
“Sylvia’s eco-chic advocacy embodies every aspect of the consumer education campaign we hoped to inspire,” said Den Gardner
, executive director of Project EverGreen, www.projectevergreen.com
. “The judges were impressed with her ongoing effort to teach eco-green. For, our vision is to be a global organization that empowers people within communities to change society through the responsible creation and preservation of sustainable green spaces, such that the ever-increasing impacts of global warming in the world are measurably reduced; because Green Matters!”
I like to dig in the dirt. As the descendent of a long line of gardeners, I recall childhood experiences of helping my parents and grandparents with their garden. In fact, a space was designated specifically for me. For, in my family, it is acceptable for a child to have soiled clothes and dirty hands – to dig in the dirt!
Later, when I married and started to garden at my new home, believe it or not, many of my childhood plants transferred. Then, as space expanded, I solicited roots, clippings and newly separated perennials from friends, family or acquaintances.
Still, although my activities illustrated the influence of a gardener’s gene, I did not benefit from formal training. So, after identifying educational opportunities, I first attend the Virginia Master Garden program, and later, began a journey into more formal opportunities.
Adding to my skills, I attend landscape design courses taught by hands-on professionals, employed by a local Botanical Garden. To further expand my knowledge, I identified and attend numerous Industry workshops and seminars. What was the result?
Recently, a friend observed, “You’ve turned an avocation into a vocation!” Pausing for a moment, I questioned her observation and then, agreed. No longer, is my effort to ‘dig in the dirt’ simply the result of a part-time effort. It has moved into the vocational world. Paralleling my journey into training, I shared landscape/garden knowledge with others.
Contributing feature articles and columns to garden magazines, I’ve participated as an “asks the expert” columnist, taught adult educational seminars and presently, participate in all of these activities plus design landscape/gardens that include energy efficient and earth-friendly strategies.
Nevertheless, the further I venture into the world of gardening, the more I question its impact on the environment. For, gardening and eco-friendly gardening are not necessarily the same activities.
In fact, survey statistics released by the National Garden Bureau identified of 12 eco-friendly surveyed items only 3 are viewed as somewhat successfully observed by homeowner and/or backyard gardeners. It appears that although as a Nation, we have participated for more than 50 years in a “Green Revolution”; on the whole, we continue to fail. So, obviously, it takes more than simply a “love of all things green” to make it work.
Instead of stumbling through your effort, let knowledge become your mentor. Educate yourself and then, incorporate what you learn into daily experiences. Be the person who is open to new and different ideas and share them; for, unless knowledge is shared, it is stagnant.
The future holds a unique opportunity: the opportunity to not simply be the caretaker of a space but a person who cares! A person who sets the Climate, nor merely adjusts to a preexisting one; creates an encouraging Attitude, not practices ambivalence; is Receptive to people without losing sight of personal needs; and demonstrates Empathy for others while keeping problems in perspective.
Become known in your community as an eco-expert. Be the person who has positive impact on a survey that measures safe landscape/garden practices, share your knowledge and write articles for civic newsletters or volunteer to provide speeches; and perhaps more importantly, influence the next generation of gardeners.
Create a space in which it is alright for a child to experience dirty hands and soiled clothes. As a parent or grandparent, create experiences that enable another generation of people who turn their eco-avocation into a vocation. Together, let’s ensure ‘digging in the dirt’ is eco-friendly.