Snowy Woods  Winter holds its own beauty – in structure and contrast.  Bare leafed trees and shrubs reveal their naked, statuesque forms, juxtaposed against the soft, white snow.  Winter is not merely a gray season and should never be written off as such.  Sometimes beauty is demure and humble.  Sometimes it begs for a second look with an imaginative eye.  And just like that the world around you seems to change, when in fact, it was simply a perception shift.

Change  Perception shifts often lead to paradigm shifts which can be powerful catalysts for change.  Sometimes change is large and sweeping.  Most times it is small, specific and practical.

Sustainable Gardening  The Green Industry has experienced an increasing interest in sustainable landscapes and gardens.  Taking the first steps can seem overwhelming and out of reach, not to mention cost prohibitive.  So start slowly, with small, manageable changes like utilizing graywater.

Using graywater  Graywater (or greywater) is defined as all the waste water produced by a home with the exception of toilet or sewer water, which is called blackwater.  Sinks, showers, baths and washers are all sources of graywater, which can be used to water/irrigate plants and crops.  Fewer pathogens exist in graywater than domestic waste water and is considered safer to handle, but before you start collecting graywater for use in the garden, consider the following, helpful tips:

  • It is recommended that non-toxic, earth-friendly soaps, cleaners and shampoos be used to help protect plants.
  • Use graywater within 24 hours of collection.  Never store for extended periods of time.
  • When watering, apply the graywater to the soil, not the plant itself.
  • Rotate graywater with fresh water to avoid a build up of sodium.
  • Do not use graywater on edible crops, particularly root crops that are sometimes eaten raw.
  • Use graywater on established plants only.

Most of our homes are not outfitted with specialized plumbing to harvest graywater, so collection will most likely require buckets, muscle and patience.  But this small change, this humble shift, this second look can be the stepping stone to even greater transformation in our landscapes and lives.

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.  In winter, the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.”

– John Burroughs

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney