Regional sustainability

Cabbage Palm

There is a lot to read about sustainability these days, is it possible it is a local phenomena? It has to be. Given that the idea of sustainability is to save time, money and materials by using what is available locally – you have to find out what is around.

The LEED Initiative made popular by US Green Building Council (changing the way we think about building, they say) considers that any plant material grown within 500 miles of where you are building is locally sourced. I have to disagree with that 500 miles from where I am a greenhouse would be required to grow what grows outside here. I have learned a great number of new plants that I had never seen when I lived 500 miles north.

Florida may be different; but everywhere is different. Sunset Books made a great attempt to zonify America and came up with 36 named zones with added special zones for extreme climates?! The USDA seems to have 15 Zones. Who is right? Probably nobody.

So, I thought about what I can get here that is totally local and sustainable. Well, lots of things and these materials make my garden unique to my locale.

I can get great paving material from within 20 miles of my house, this is 3/8″ graded shell. Larger shell called white washed shell is available for more decorative uses.


Shell for surface of driveway

Shell for driveways, walkways, etc.

There is a place within walking distance of my house that makes stepping stones with shell in them:

Shell & Concrete Stepping Stone For Path to mailbox

Shell & Concrete Stepping Stones

Possibly a peculiarity of the area I live in; there are plant sales like garage sales almost every weekend. I rarely pay more than $5.00 for anything and talk about locally sourced. The downside to this is very few people know exactly what it is they are selling – its a Green Bromeliad. On the other hand, it is always a surprise when one of these treasures bloom. One of the joys of gardening.

The Mysterious Green Bromeliad

The Mysterious Green Bromeliad

Here is my latest purchase, a nice Chartruesy Green Bromeliad that supposedly takes full sun. That is the full extent of my knowledge, I can’t wait to see what it does. Gardening teaches patience.


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