Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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Green gardening is, essentially, what sustainability is all about. It is about creating a pleasing garden, while being mindful of what a healthy environment needs. Attaining a good attitude, being realistic, and learning to take Mother Nature’s lead can help you be ‘green’ in your yard and garden.

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nbb tolerant approach article

Ways to cultivate a tolerant mindset:

Tolerate Some Damage

The Naturally Beautiful Backyard (NBB) program recommends tolerance in the garden. Creating a balanced ecosystem provides natural pest control. It is a good choice compared to using insecticides.

Beneficial insects eat other insects. Their food is other insects as well as some of your plants. Unfortunately, the bad insects will likely do some damage while the beneficial insects are hunting for them. But don’t fret. Once you have enough plants to host an army of hungry beneficial insects — and birds, too — there will come a balance. You’ll be surprised at how short a period of time it takes to see much less damage to your plants after you create a comfortable home for the beneficial guys.

Let Mother Nature Help

Mother Nature is a force, and cooperating with her will make your gardening life much easier. She has her own rules. If you obey her rules, which apply differently to different regions and even different neighborhoods and microclimate situations, she will make your gardening life easier and rewarding. If you violate her rules, she can either cause failure or more work on your part. You get to choose.

The best way to obey Mother Nature’s rules is to:

  • Choose plants that are well-adapted for the area in which you live
  • Respect the Right Plant / Right Place principle of plant selection and placement
  • Invite birds, insects, and pollinators to be a part of your garden
  • Tolerate some damage and a bit messier garden than you might be used to being

Have Realistic Expectations

Be realistic about what can and can’t be done on your site. This includes what you can and can’t afford. Let’s face it. Landscaping can be expensive. But we don’t have to break the bank to create a bit of good habitat for beneficial insects and birds. On a small lot an area with a small tree, a few shrubs and perennial flowers, a bird bath and feeder, and a good amount of woody mulch can make a difference.

Being realistic means accepting the wisdom of the Right Plant / Right Place principle of plant selection.

Being realistic means accepting that you cannot always have exactly what you want because it works against nature.

Be Patient

A very large part of gardening is patience. Creating any landscape is an exercise in blending art, science, work, and patience.

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