When the first Earth Day was held in 1970, did anyone dare hope it would grow to be the largest world-wide non-secular celebration? Earthday.org reports over 1 billion individuals and over 75,000 partners worldwide participate in Earth Day events and actions. This year's landmark date is impacted by the global pandemic, but actions and home activities continue.
One important movement that grew along with Earth Day is understanding the importance of biodiversity, and conserving and re-establishing native habitats. Actions as simple as planting native flowers, trees and shrubs at home and in our local parks, make a significant impact on our entire region. Olivette in Bloom and it's members have led the charge locally. Championing native plants, providing hands-on educational opportunities for people and schools, offering workshops, creating and maintaining public gardens, and hosting its annual native plant sale, have all benefited our community.
Although we are staying home on Earth Day this year, there are many opportunities to participate in learning, advocating and caring for our home piece of the Earth. The Missouri Botanical Garden's Virtual Earth Day Festival runs through April 26. The Festival includes live and recorded presentations, online guides, a Green Resource Answer Service and more.
The Missouri Prairie Foundation is offering a free zoom Prairie Webinar Series on Wednesday afternoons in May. Topics include tours of natural communities and Missouri's Bird Conservation Plan.
More ways to celebrate Earth Day at home may be found on Olivette Parks & Recreation's Virtual Community Center Earth Day hub.
Living through a pandemic has changed many of our daily habits and routines, springtime garden preparation included! Purchasing new plants, seeds, a tool or soil amendment has become harder. Many of our local garden centers have risen to the challenge by remaining open with new social distancing protocols. Some offer online ordering with curbside pick-up, others free delivery, all with the purpose of keeping patrons safe and keeping their businesses open.
A recent Post Dispatch article noted that garden centers receive 50% of their annual income during the spring.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is maintaining a live Google map of local centers and their operational status.
Selecting new plants for your garden can be overwhelming. This year adds an additional challenge with social distancing requiring us to order our plants by phone or email in advance from our local nursery. The Missouri Botanical Garden's "Plants of Merit" (POM) program can make the selection easier.
With over 20 years of recommending plants particularly suited to our climate, this helpful list is a St Louis gardeners best friend! Plants are selected by five criteria:
The POM list includes annuals, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, edibles, trees and houseplants. Finding a winner for your specific garden conditions or interests is easy. The Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder Database is an excellent search engine that allows you to enter "Plants of Merit" in the quick search box, and then sort by plant type. Or download a handy printable list with all 20 years of Plants of Merit. Enjoy the hunt!