Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp has a refreshing idea about lawn and garden care. “I try not to worry too much about what’s going on — unless it’s really bad.”
But, if it is really bad, Jo Ellen knows how to react. She has skills most of us don’t. Jo Ellen is a Master Gardener. “Mother Nature is not perfect. So, a few holes in the leaves or a little insect damage is not very worrisome to me.”
The rest of us are conditioned to demand lush, green, weed-free lawns. So, we spread bags of chemicals all over our yards or we hire someone to do the treatments for us. This year, I’ve started to question that approach. Maybe it’s because we’ve been told not to let our dogs walk in the yard when chemicals have just been spread or sprayed.
Maybe my interest comes from the notoriety given to the “Green” movement and organic products.
Maybe I’m just cheap.
Whatever the explanation, this approach is a specialty of Jo Ellen. “Sort of a natural landscaping philosophy for her yard,” she told me.
That means fewer chemicals and more natural products than most of us use. This requires some adjustment “because you don’t get that instant green-up” that you might find with other, more well-known products.
It might start, though, with how you mow your lawn. Jo Ellen will tell you to mow high. Longer blades of grass create an element of shade that can keep weed seeds from germinating.
On your other plants, you might need nothing more than a hose.
If you see bugs on your plants, you can spray them off with water. If that doesn’t work, Jo Ellen admits the next option is not so appealing. You can pick them off by hand. But, if you see problems, it’s important to know whether your plants are infested with insects or are afflicted by fungus. You can’t expect that spraying for bugs will kill the fungus.
It can all be a little confusing for those of us with limited gardening knowledge. That’s where Jo Ellen comes in. Her talents allow her to work as a “garden coach.”
We get to see — or rather hear — more of that, this weekend. I interviewed her about whether those of us who aren’t master gardeners can have success in our yards without the usual chemical approach. She describes some of the alternatives to the traditional chemicals. You can hear our discussion, this weekend on:
10:30 Saturday morning on 1430 WXNT. (They’re taking a break from the sports talk.)
6:00am Sunday on My1079
7:30 Sunday morning on WZPL