July 2015: Sustainable gardening

July 2015 library profile:

Sustainable Gardening



We all have our part to play in the preservation of our natural world, and as gardeners we can contribute to the greening of our society through sustainability and sustainable practices in the garden! Landscaping to work with the natural characteristics of the climate, soil, and available resources can create gardens that work in harmony with the surrounding world without interfering with natural systems. As an EPA Green Power Partner continuously committed to sustainable initiatives, The Morton Arboretum and the Sterling Morton Library are proud to offer resources to anyone interested in sustainable practices.


Sustainability at the Arboretum

PDF iconMainParkingLot-PavingtheWay.pdf - Read more about the Arboretum's permeable pavers in the parking lot that help absorb, filter, and clean storm water keeping pollutants out of streams, rivers, and lakes.

Sustainable large landscapes - Learn more about strategies for businesses and homeowners to implement sustainable landscape practices "to reduce these landscapes' adverse impacts on the environment and make them easier to care for.



"We can change our ways of gardening. By adopting more sustainable practices, we can make our plantings an environmental asset rather than a drain. They can become a haven for wildlife as well as people, and a reinforcement to the local ecosystem. In short, we can make our craft earth-friendly, as we have always imagined it should be. This is a challenge, but it's also an opportunity. Adopting these sustainable practices isn't about belt-tightening. It's about making our gardens more rewarding, more interesting and diverse than they have ever been before. It's a process of taking on the role of leaders, not just in our own backyards but in our communities as well. The accepted definition of sustainability... is to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Applied to gardening, this means using methods, technologies, and materials that don't deplete natural resources or cause lasting harm to natural systems. This may seem like an obvious goal, especially since gardeners have all had first-hand experience of working with natural systems... Most of us have also seen how our gardens can benefit from respecting and working with nature rather than against it. We have experienced how feeding the soil's microorganisms with organic matter in turn produces healthier, more vigorous plant growth, how selecting plants adapted to the local climate and soil makes success easy... The environmental problems we now face are seemingly overwhelming in scope. This fosters a feeling of hopelessness and apathy: how can any one of us individually have an impact on the looming global water shortage, climate change, and the loss of biodiversity? If you look at statistics, though, it soon becomes clear that gardeners have an essential role in the answer to any of these crises, and that we can have a personal impact."

~from The New American Landscape edited by Thomas Christopher, p. 9-10


Library resources

The New American Landscape: Leading Voices on the Future of Sustainable Gardening edited by Thomas Christopher, 2011

The Conscientious Gardener: Cultivating a Garden Ethic by Sarah Hayden Reichard, 2011

Tomorrow's Garden: Design and Inspiration for a New Age of Sustainable Gardening by Stephen Orr, 2011

Rain Garden: Managing water sustainably in the garden and designed landscape by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden, 2007

Lawn Gone! Low-Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard by Pam Penick, 2013

Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls by Nigel Dunnett and Noel Kingsbury, 2004

Sustainable Horticulture: Today and Tomorrow by Raymond P. Poincelot, 2004

Sustainable Landscape Management: Design, Construction, and Maintenance by Thomas W. Cook and Ann Marie Vanderzanden, 2011


Reader's advisory

If sustainable gardening practices interest you, also check out our books in sustainability, sustainable development, and environmental protection!


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