What Has Your Garden Been Doing Lately?

By Owen Dell | June 14, 2019
Look for C-Questers yard signs!

You may not realize it, but your garden, even if it’s small or modest, is helping to regulate the climate. Plants play an essential role in the living world, using photosynthesis to turn sunlight, water, and nutrients into oxygen for us to breathe and making carbohydrates that become the plant’s leaves, branches, and roots. If you like breathing, thank a plant, but equally important is the role of those carbohydrates in storing carbon in the soil. Called “carbon sequestration,” the carbon that plants take out of the atmosphere keeps the climate on track, more essential now than ever before. Every tree, shrub, perennial, and blade of grass in your garden is doing this important work every single day. Hats off to the plants, and to you for keeping this system going!

Of course, that’s not all your garden is doing. A well-designed and maintained living landscape performs a great many ecological services. It provides habitat for pollinators, birds, and other organisms. The plants surrounding your home help to keep it comfortable and reduce energy use. Plants offer shelter from winds. They prevent soil erosion. They supply nutrients to millions of species of soil organisms that are vital to the health of the environment. And, of course they bring us so much beauty and help to create the welcoming spaces we all love to enjoy. Think of your garden as a living ecosystem, because that’s just what it is! And think of yourself as an ecosystem manager, doing the important work of keeping the system going. Thank you!

The Willamette Valley Regenerative Landscape Coalition is a Corvallis-based group of landscape professionals and scientists who strive to increase understanding and awareness of the ecological importance of living landscapes, with an emphasis on carbon sequestration. We call gardeners “C-Questers,” the unsung superheroes of the environment. That’s you and everyone with a bit or a lot of land. Together we’re making the world a better place, and as we enjoy creating, managing, and recreating in our gardens we’re also doing vitally important work, usually without even being aware of it. We call regenerative landscapes “C-Questers” as well, because densely-planted gardens maximize soil coverage by plants that use the sun’s energy to synthesize food from water and atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Want to learn more? Click HERE to read Part 1 in the Healthy Soil blog series.

About the Author

Owen Dell

Owen Dell, RLA, ASLA is an award-winning, internationally admired landscape architect, author and educator. He is the principal of Owen Dell and Associates, LLC, in Corvallis, Oregon, specializing in sustainable landscape architectural services. Owen has been part of the landscaping profession since 1971. Owen lectures around the country and internationally on sustainable landscaping and related topics. He is the author of “How to Start a Home-Based Landscaping Business” and “Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies.” Owen has also been a regular contributor to many national and regional horticultural publications including Sunset Magazine, Fine Gardening, and others. For 5 years he was the co-host and co-creator of the popular Santa Barbara television series, “Garden Wise Guys.” Owen is a member of the Willamette Valley Regenerative Landscape Coalition (WVRLC). Search the BSWCD website to learn more about WVRLC's projects!

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