Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Butterfly's Sighs

Seven Things I Vow to do this Year for Sustainable Living to Celebrate Earth Day 2011

I have been living sustainably for over 25 years, but sustainable living is about constant and consistent vigilance and mindfulness. For the rest of my life, there will be more things I can do and more things I can learn to be greener, more energy-conscious, and more earth-conscious.  What are some things you can do to celebrate Earth Day in 2011? Here are some ways I intend to live more sustainably this year:

1. Incorporate more water conservation methods in my garden. I love flowers and plants and have quite a large garden, so I try to keep them as healthy as possible during those very hot months with enough water to keep them alive. Sometimes that seems to be too much. This year, I want to try to find some ways to keep my plants healthy but save more water. I have some soaker hoses, but they do not work well on hills--of which I have many.
  • Some things I already do: use soaker hoses, mulch, water early in the morning, water deeply, water sparingly
  • Some things I will try to do: use more soaker hoses, incorporate some sort of irrigation system, plant fewer annuals :(
2. Plant more native plants. Appreciating various flowers and plants as I do, I do not think I could ever plant purely native plants. However, I do want to try to plant more of them because they are more resistant to diseases and more tolerant of our soils and weather, especially those drought periods.

3.Add more rain barrels. I have four rain barrels with two on each downspout in the back. When we have a lot of rain, they fill up very quickly. I could easily add two more, one additional for each downspout.

4. Reduce the lawn area. I have many landscaped beds throughout the yard, but there is still a lot of grassy area. And I will maintain some lawn, possibly forever. The lawn and grass is a water hog. The less I have of it, the less water I need to use.

5. Propagate more, buy less. If I get near a plant sale, I eventually come home with more plants than I really need. I usually do find space for them, but then I have the leftover plastic pots. If I propagated more of my own plants or traded plants with a friend, there would be little or no waste. To get rid of the plastic pots, I either recycle them, take them to a local nursery, or post them as available on

6. Teach more people to compost. As a Master Gardener, I teach composting classes. I also initiated and am involved in the Master Composter/Recycler Program. Our first Master Composter/Recycler class graduates April 12. One thing I have learned is once people start composting, they really begin to enjoy it and they spread the word.

7. Take more time to enjoy my garden. This may or may not be considered a sustainable living activity, but it seems to me that taking some quiet time to relax and enjoy can only benefit us, our friends and family, and the earth. If I have taken that time to relax and enjoy, I have more to give to others and the planet.

Jan over at the Thanks for Today blog is celebrating Earth Day with the Garden Bloggers Sustainable Living Project to encourage garden bloggers to write about ways in which we are incorporating more sustainable practices in our yard and garden. Take a moment to check out her blog:
©Michelle A. Potter


  1. Michelle,
    What a lovely garden you have! I love the stepping stones.

    I look forward to reading more soon!

  2. Really interesting site. Have you come across Bob Flowerdew or Alys Fowler. You might find them interesting. I've just done a piece about Alys. I'm so impressed by her. I look forward to reading your blog again.

  3. PS. I meant to add that I just love the butterfly photos.

  4. Love your ideas, look forward to doing the same at my home.

  5. @Wife, Mother, Gardener

    Thank you...those stepping stones have been adjusted a few times as the plants have grown. :)

  6. @Janet

    Thanks for introducing me to Alys Fowler, and I love your piece on her.

  7. @Janet

    Thanks! I love butterflies, too. If you want some free butterfly images, they are available on:

  8. Your blue butterfly photo reminds me of our brief visit to Costa Rica in January... a butterfly sanctuary with those lovelies flying everywhere!

  9. Hi Michelle, you have a beautiful garden and blog and I'm so happy you've joined in this project! I am finally getting a rainbarrel...but may need several! I enjoy the garden for the beauty of nature and just observing the flowers and butterflies and see nothing wrong with that;-) I know I need to be careful with water too...and like you, I'm not going to go 'all native'. I like everything and am not a purist and probably am not nearly as sustainable as I could be. But, it's taking things in baby steps, and learning the small things we can do to help cut out waste. Eventually, maybe we'll move on to even bigger things! Your rainwater system looks good...and you can just keep adding more from there! I love that you're a MG and teaching others, and composting is something I am enjoying now, too! It's actually kind of fun to go out every day and add to it, thinking of the black gold that will be the result! I'm wanting to become a MG at some point but need to wait just a bit longer. I also want to take a Master Naturalist course and am thinking of doing that later this summer. Thanks again for stopping by and joining in. Have a great spring!

  10. @Jan@Thanks for today.

    Jan, you are so inspirational--with your life, your blog, and your lust for all that is natural and beautiful. Thank you for stopping by.

  11. you have a beautiful blog! i love the ideas you have for sustainable living.

  12. Thank you, Arati. I am so glad you enjoyed your visit.

  13. Michelle, I'm just catching up on some of the other posts from Jan's Garden Bloggers' Sustainable Living meme this year. Honestly, I think #7 on your list is the most important in a way. By taking the time to stop, absorb, and appreciate what we have, we feel that much more compelled to preserve it!

  14. @Curbstone Valley Farm

    Thank you for stopping by, Curbstone Valley Farm. With all of the things we have on the to-do list, I am hoping we can take many breaks to stop and appreciate our garden and all we have done to enhance and preserve it.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

Thank you for visiting The Sage Butterfly blog. I enjoy reading your charming reflections very much. Have a great day!

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