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How To Build A Sustainable Garden - Part Iv

29. When he sees no sense in his existence, the garden gives itself to despair.

Life, for the garden, is a constant search for sensations: to perceive the dawn, to sense the rain when the wind abuses and shakes the leaves of all, to count stars...

There are no fears, no grudges. There is no past, no future, for him. Just the present. But, there is always one, but when we ridicule his appearance. When we abuse products to flourish more, when we outrage their modesty with scissors and we annoy it by taking away what was inherent to it, perhaps an inseparable companion despite its appearance, there arises despair, the painful hope truncated of not being.

30. Plant species that isolate external noises.

How to Build a Sustainable Garden - Part IV: existence


Sound pollution is another concern in big cities. The compact moors, formed by a mixed vegetation (arboreal and shrub), can minimize external noises. High music produces about 90 decibels, a vacuum cleaner up to 70 dB and a group of people talking 50 to 60 dB. If we plant a fence formed by plants with densely structured foliage, we will be able to reduce noise by 10 decibels per meter of width of the hedge. Therefore, a closed forest forming a belt of 10 meters of transversal dimension, would have the capacity to silence most of the daily noises.

31. Imagine green masses that "work" by stabilizing ambient temperature and humidity.
In the gardens of a ground-floor building or in a wooded area of ​​a public space, such as a square, for example, the temperature is most often a lot milder than on a sidewalk next to buildings. The difference can reach, at certain times, to 8° less, next to a green area and the humidity goes up a lot, providing environmental comfort.

This difference is noticeable when we stand under a leafy tree. Nothing compares to the shade of a marquee where, despite the shading, the heat and the thermal sensation are intolerable.

32. The pesticides, even when they are alternative, are toxic. It is preferable to favor the development of the natural enemies that control insects.
I insist on the thesis that the use of plants, respecting their characteristics, is the way to avoid infestations of pests and diseases. Species that shaped their existence in direct contact with the sun never grew healthy in shady places, as well as those originating in temperate zones, are inadequate in tropical regions, just to name a few. However, if the use of a manufactured defense is indispensable, it should have little toxicity, belonging to the toxicological group IV, with an uncomplicated handling and application. As I mentioned in item 13 the use of defensive plants is less aggressive to the environment and sometimes more effective over time. The marigold (Tagetes patula) controls nematodes, mites, aphids and other pests, cinnamon (Melia Azederacha) is a tree that functions as a remarkable trap, preventing whitefly infestations.

Also, caterpillars, aphids and mites are controlled by spraying with whey and also with wheat flour which, once dried, forms a film that surrounds the insects, suffocating them.

33. Choose, where necessary, woody essences that carry out bacterial clearance.
Trees absorb the excess of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels from transportation vehicles. These pollutants destroy the fragrance of flowers, inhibiting the approach of pollinators such as beetles, bees and butterflies that, in wild and uninhabited environments, are attracted by the aromas at distances of up to 1,200 meters. In contrast, in the metropolis the perfumes are exhaled to a maximum of 300 meters. This would explain the disappearance of species that depend exclusively on the fauna that carries the pollen.

34. The garden has always exhibited the fleetingness of life. To accept the expiration of a plant, taking care of it, is a way of sustaining our ethics.

How to Build a Sustainable Garden - Part IV: existence

The death of a tree

The perception of the transitoriness of our existence always leads us to the idea of ​​death, considered as the ultimate expression of the fugacity of life. The fear of the end, of this sunset, makes us ignorant in the presence of a senile tree. We do not understand that a cycle has ended and that its absence will allow the entrance of more sun and its remains will be fertilizers for the shoots that appear.

35. In valley bottoms, select riparian trees, which more easily absorb rainwater, reducing flooding.
Brazil has an enormous amount of woody plants that are called riverside, or riparian, and occur in the banks of rivers, dams and springs. They are also known as ciliary, because as eyelashes protect the eyes, they protect the banks of the silting that causes the death of the rivers due to the reduction of depth. The erosive processes caused by floods, winds and chemical waste disintegrate soil that can only be kept stable with these trees. There are pioneer species to be used in the case of extremely rustic degraded areas with attractive landscapes such as: araçá-do-mato (Campomanesia guazumaefolia), caroba (Jacaranda cuspidifolia), ingá-beans (Inga marginata), cassia-manduirana (Senna macranthera) and many others.

36. On hilltops, even in the urban environment, use tree species that do not depend on watering at regular intervals.
In these cases, select trees whose natural growth is linked to soils of low natural fertility, winds and drought, such as: angico-branco (Anadenanthera colubrina), ipê-branco (Tabebuia rosa-alba), monsoon (Acacia polyphylla), tarumâ (Vitex megapotamica), etc. They are native species, characteristic of deciduous forest.

37. Only prune, to eliminate diseased branches, to correct the wrong tendency of growth or to increase flowering. Never to artificialize the natural look.

How to Build a Sustainable Garden - Part IV: there

To prune

Contemporary life evidences a tendency toward artificialism as the specific style of our actions in the world. Who knows the garden may become the last spontaneous stronghold in our daily life?

38. Understand the garden as a part of the urban whole, integrating it with the landscape of the region.
The urban landscape must be understood as logical and coherent in the tangle of buildings, viaducts, streets and spaces that make up the city's environment. We know that it is impossible to sustain that village life in the nineteenth century. However, it is urgent to accept that cities lacking green spaces are led to an agony that will drag their inhabitants to a path that has no return.

39. The perfect cop must be "clothed" with an immaculate landscape, pure and free of grotesque props.
The Greeks, in the eighth century a. C. they called of polis the model of city that would define the urban life with its organized society. This did not exclude aesthetics as an essential element in the life of the Athenians. Pericles wanted the beauty of Athens to fit his prestige. The decree of 450 BC gave him the right to have the money needed for great works, such as the Parthenon. Years later Plato founded a school of philosophy and science that became known as the Academy. The school stood on a tree-lined avenue and with its students walked under the trees while teaching discovering the pleasure of knowledge allied to the bucolic. Athens was cultured and distinctive and, although rich and opulent, almost pompous, it has never been tempted by the distortion of the ridicule that has characterized many cultures in history.

Author: Raul Cânovas

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