Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.
A friend and new mom recently said to me, "Parenting is an exercise in guilt." She wasn't talking of the well-known guilt some moms feel when they go to work each morning or choose a solitary jog over the playground.
My friend referred to the guilt she had over whether she was making the right "environmental" choices for her daughter. Was it okay that she had so many plastic toys? Was there lead in the walls of her old house? Was she using the safest approach to counter pests in her garden?
She worried about the effects her choices had on her daughter, as well as over the impact they had on the environment. If she used plastic and not the more-renewable glass baby bottles or stainless-steel sippy cups was she a bad person? What about all the excess "stuff" friends and family gave the child as gifts?
In this issue of Wildflower, we focus on sustainability. And as I created it, this conversation with my friend made me consider how guilt has unintentionally - and unfortunately -- come to play a role in the sustainability movement.
So in this issue we focus not on sustainable perfection (if that even exists), but on ways our actions can have less impact on the environment. In "Mayan Fields," (pages 12-19) we feature a Texas home garden designed with minimal maintenance in mind using many native and well-adapted plants. We discuss efforts that are underway in hurricane-affected areas of Louisiana and use native plants to restore landscapes battered by storm surges ("Razing Cane," pages 20-27).
In Field Notes (pages 5-11), we announce the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a project through which the Wildflower Center and other partners are establishing standards for creating sustainable landscapes and a ratings system that will acknowledge them (page 5). Our regular column "For Every Season"(page 10) by master gardener Julie Bawden Davis also shares tips on how you can make your garden more sustainable. Finally, our In Bloom section (pages 28-32) features the environmental and economic impact made by the sustainable harvesting of palms for Palm Sunday in Mexico and Guatemala.
We also are fortunate in this year-end issue to announce progress made by different Wildflower Center initiatives. We celebrate that the Center's conservationists have contributed the seeds of 100 Texas species for safeguarding in the Millennium Seed Bank, which aims to conserve seeds from about 10 percent of the world's upland flora by 2010. We also announce that one year after a name change and redesign Wildflower has been honored with a prestigious national design award - a gold Ozzie award from Folio: magazine which celebrates the best in magazine design - proving in a way that native and sustainable gardens are not just smart, they are beautiful.
In the article Sustainable Development (page 5), Sustainable Sites Initiative Project Manager Heather Venhaus points out what an asset it is that landscapes - unlike buildings -- can be improved little by little over time. This is a strong reminder that there should be no judgment involved in sustainable gardening - and living. So, please use this issue as a guide to help you make more sustainable choices in your garden, as best you can and as much as you can. No guilt necessary.