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Prince Charming!

by germinatrix | May 6th, 2009


a royal plant lover

HRH Charles, The Prince of Wales, is a man who has his priorities straight. In my humble opinion. I know, he’s a figure of controversy – but I don’t really care about all the shenanigans surrounding his love life …I care about the gardener! And the man who is putting his shoulder to the wheel and trying to inspire change.

Our world is losing it’s lungs. Our tropical rainforests breathe for us, and they are being cut down at an alarming rate by developing countries making way for commercial agriculture … HRH is taking this big issue on – and it is an uphill battle. How does some fancy-pants Prince get all high and mighty on poor, developing countries about making some money? I mean, REALLY! But a line has to be drawn in the sand (sand, because all the topsoil has been eroded due to the clear-cutting of tropical rainforests). World leaders have to band together and help provide sustainable solutions to these third world countries … education is the name of the game.

The website, The Prince’s Rainforest Project, has a short film encouraging all of us to get on board. Regular folks and luminaries alike – even Kermit the Frog – have to work together and make the right choices. I know this has been said ad nauseum, but it is TRUE! And we, as gardeners, must recognize that what we do for pleasure and health really makes a difference. REALLY. Our choices in our gardens, no matter how small they may seem, matter. Have you gone organic? YES! But you still have choices to make – does your bagged ‘organic’ planting mix have peat mixed in it? BOO. (check out Ken Druse’s excellent essay on the peat issue on Garden Rant)

HRH is a passionate gardener. We all know how it is when you fall in love with gardening – you fall in love with the earth. You understand what it is to have an effect on your world. You create a little bit of paradise.

If we can inspire more people to garden, then doesn’t it stand to reason that, eventually, we’ll have more paradise than blight? Am I just being crazily naive?

I AM being little naive – HRH is a Prince with a staff of gardeners – but I’ll bet he has dirt under his fingernails most weekends. His way may be different from mine, but his impulse to have a positive impact on the earth at this crucial time is one I can really get behind. He has a bigger platform – but we can ALL try and change the world – one tree at a time, one garden at a time, one gardener at a time.


11 Responses to “Prince Charming!”

  1. Even thought I do not have a “love” for him… I do appreciate his seedy-ness and overall vision.

    I used it again. I think that is 3 times now. heh

  2. germinatrix says:

    James, man – I think I owe you a six-pack for taking the lead on the ‘taking back’ of the word SEEDY!
    HRH Chas is a problematic man – but I could totally get behind a Gardener/King. If we just didn’t have to deal with the personal side of him, he’d be fully seedy!

    I DO like that snappy outfit he’s wearing, though!

  3. Why does so much stuff have peat in it? I remember hearing years ago that peat is bad, and I’ve been avoiding it, but I still see it everywhere, used even while promoting sustainability. What gives?

  4. Upon moving to Portland and discovering the clay soil here EVERYONE told me to mix in peat moss, that it was the cure all. I was ignorant of it’s downside then. I’ve learned. I bet those same people are still spreading the word.

    After I read Ken Druse’s rant on Garden Rant I wanted to print it and post it everywhere around town. Like on the tall stacks of peat in the local garden centers. Think I could get thrown in the slammer for that?

  5. germinatrix says:

    Megan – Isn’t the peat thing crazy? When I was a baby gardener, I believed the peat lobby and all I got was crazy dried out soil (peat + dry heat = thirsty crumbly mess). Then I did some research and realized that it is for a very specific condition and climate. But they STILL sell the stuff EVERYWHERE! And the books still say it is a good choice! You are totally right. It makes me mad, because it’s all about money. The bagged garden soil industry uses it as a cheap filler to lighten their soil mixes and aid with water retention, and people buy the stuff because it is significantly cheaper than non-peat or peat alternative mixes. Well, whatever! SAVING THE EARTH IS NOT GOING TO BE CHEAP!!!
    Megan, I got so mad at one of the posters on the Garden Rant comments who said that she’d still buy peat because she needs to acidify her soil and it’s cheaper and that is just the reality. I went off on her in MY comment, and they didn’t post it. I ranted too meanly for Garden Rant. I felt bad.
    BUT STILL!!!

    Hey Loree! See above, spiky friend! You know what, I will join you passing out that post of Druse’s… yeah, we might get thrown in the slammer, but it’s for a good cause – Peat Bogs! We’ll be Green Activists!

    Hey Megan & Loree, you two are going to DIE – I am going to the most amazing garden on Friday – for us who love the sharper side of gardening, it is Nirvana. Lotusland. I’ll post about it on Saturday. Dedicate to you guys, and Pam, of course…

  6. Wow to ranty for Garden Rant! I am impressed! Lotus Land is part of our vacation plans this year – I AM SO EXCITED! I think we’ll also hit the Huntington Gardens. I would love to hear of other recommendations that you have for the area. The risky thing is we are driving down the coast. Car = can buy plants! Yea!!! I can’t wait to see your post….it’ll be like the appetizer!

  7. Thanks for the link to the peat moss issue. Although a few of the assumptions made in the article didn’t jive with me (for example, I don’t think archaeological research that destroys ecosystems is necessarily worthwhile) I was particularly struck by the point that whether the ecosystems return to their previous state as peat growers claim or not, why would a gardener choose peat over fallen leaves and compost? The latter generally being handy, local, and free.

  8. germinatrix says:

    Loree! You are going to have the BEST TIME checking out gardens here – the Huntington is GREAT, and the fact that you are going to Lotusland makes me SO HAPPY! That place is, without a doubt, the single biggest inspiration in my life as a garden designer. I’ll think up some other places for you to check out that you’ll like – and I hope you got a cargo van!

    You are so right, Zoe – why use peat when you can compost? If acidifying your soil is an issue, you can add things like pine needle mulch, coffee grounds in your compost, or sulfites. But how about doing something REALLY radical, like working with the soil you HAVE? If your soil doesn’t support acid-loving plants, well – plant other things!
    And like you, I am VERY suspicious of the claims of the peat harvesters … peat bogs are ancient. They don’t replenish quickly the way bamboo groves or kudzu does (there has to be a good use for that stuff!). I believe gardeners should be responsible and work with what you have first … if you MUST alter your soil with bagged mixes – make certain that you know what is in them. And that you are on board with the societal impact of your gesture. But that’s just me!
    Thanks for the comment!

  9. This was new to me.

    Pretty cool to hear about his garden interest.

    Maybe he’ll post some photos.


  10. Guess what I discovered recently?… Part of Prince Charles’ sustainable organic garden at Highgrove is a small reeded wetland that naturally filters and purifies the sewage from the whole estate, to be re-used on the gardens. Now that’s commitment.

  11. Hooray! I’m not the only one who admires HRH’s organic commitment. I’ve had the book about his organic Highgrove estate for years and it’s one of my favorites.