Wednesday, January 28, 2009

EcoBright: The Southeastern Horticultural Society Embraces Sustainable Landscapes

I don't know a prize winning daffodil from the one popping up in my backyard, but I do appreciate any information that makes my garden easier to maintain and healthier for the plants as they continue to suffer through long summer droughts. The Southeastern Flower Show opened today in Atlanta with a special exhibit designed to provoke us to reconsider the way we're landscaping. EcoBright promotes sustainable landscapes by using plants that are more environmentally adaptable to our changing climate.

For the last several seasons I've watched my hydrangeas and English roses drag through the long, hot Atlanta summer parched as year after year we are banned from watering our beautiful gardens. Instead of changing landscaping, my neighbors spend exhorbitant amounts of money drilling for well-water. Since I live on a ridge, it would be cheaper to move than drill for a well, so I had to find another solution. I started reading Western design magazines last year and studying plants that will sustain drought-ridden summers. Finally, the Southeastern Horticultural Society made it easy for me to find plants that can be easily incorporated into an established Southern flower garden. I previously thought that I would have to rip out my azaleas and camellias and replace them with a family of cacti, but thankfully, there are a myriad of choices to make my Southern garden appear lush without making us drill a well to China

Of course, if you are a daffodil or orchid expert, there are exhibits for you. Floral arrangements range from stiff funereal things to beautiful, seemingly effortless arrangements that display the best of sophisticated, simple floral design. Like any large show, there will be exhibits that are of great interest, and others that are passable. I was not keen on the exhibit of artistic interpretations of musical compositions, but then again, I don't own a holiday sweater.

Given that the economy will probably limit much garden redesigning this spring season, the Southeastern Flower Show provides an opportunity to view loads of beautiful flowers while we consider some small changes that might make a big difference in our gardens. Enjoy the view at the Southeastern Flower Show at the Galleria in Atlanta.

St. Andrews from the Cathedral