April is being recognized for its fourth year as National Garden month. The National Gardening Association (NGA) is gaining popularity as thousands of people across the United States commemorate this time to focus on the correlation between people, plants and the environment. National Garden month is one of many ways in which NGA promotes gardening. This annual celebration is a medium through which businesses, nonprofit organizations, communities and individuals collectively promote gardening. Hundreds of local NGA-related programs and activities around the country each help to transform America into a greener, more livable place, where the act of nurturing plants can influence education, health and nutrition, along with local food sources. It is this phenomenon that inspired the theme of NGM 2007, “When you Garden, you GROW”- an acknowledgment that gardening has a profound effect on quality of life for adults and children alike. Since its creation in 1973, the National Gardening Association, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, has been working to renew and sustain the essential connections between people, plants, and the environment through adult and youth gardening. The organization annually supports a growing audience of more than 178,000 educators with curriculum, free Web publications, grants and awards and provides resources to 500,000 avid gardening enthusiasts. NGA’s web sites (www.garden.org and www.kidsgardening.org) serve as interactive hubs where horticultural expertise, quality resources, networking opportunities and more inspire plant-based exploration. Each year, NGA hosts a major celebratory kick-off event as part of National Garden Month. For the second consecutive year, we are partnering with New York City Parks and Recreation to present the 2007 NYC GROWS Garden Festival. This citywide celebration of gardening features free family-oriented activities and workshops offered by local and national organizations. Garden month is another simple way for people to bring America’s backyards and neighborhoods to become more in tune with nature’s rhythms by nurturing the earth through communities, public school, backyards, containers and rooftop gardens alike. As gardens grow, the quality of our lives is directly positively impacted. Going green provides a more livable country, where the act of nurturing plants can influence education, health and nutrition as well as through nutrition. National Garden Month aims to get America growing, allowing millions of people to exclaim, “This is my Garden.” Planting and growing landscape around your home alone can be a very wise investment, long-term. Greenery provides privacy, cleans the air and aesthetically makes your home to appear visually more manicured. Starting and growing a garden at schools helps children in many ways, including academically. School gardens allow students to explore and solve real-world problems, apply their skills with a hands-on approach, learn to work cooperatively, practice patience and feel pride in their accomplishments.
Being part of a garden, or being a gardener play important roles in helping slow the overall effects of global warming and climate change. Going green has become very trendy from a marketing stand point, but everyone can do it, without going to extremes. Sometimes ideas include driving a green car, or buying vintage or antique furniture. Whenever possible, walk, bike or use public transportation. Adopt pets from animal shelters, hang your wash outside on sunny days, use power strips and unplug electronics that are not in use, or shut down the air conditioning and open windows or turn on a fan.
Integrating gardens or plants into your home are a great idea as well. Houseplants are great for your health and not only look pleasant, but because they are also extremely effective at removing airborne toxins.
Kerry Barth is a student at West Chester University majoring in professional studies with minors in journalism and health sciences. She can be reached at KB358328@wcupa.edu.