|Garden with Mother
Nature, not against her...
Thats the basic philosophy of BayScapes, an environmentally
healthy landscape program promoted by the York
Lawns and gardens everywhere and anywhere not just
along the waterfront affect all our water sources in Hampton Roads. The fertilizers
and chemicals you use to nourish soil and stop pests and diseases can leach into storm
drains, retention ponds and ditches, where they inevitably reach some creek, river or
underground water supply. Eventually they mingle with the salts and minerals of our
Chesapeake Bay, the home of great sport, food and beauty.
The York River watershed sweeps across 2,661 square miles
or about 1.7 million acres of Virginias coastal plain, representing about 7 percent
of the states land base. The westernmost reaches of the watershed stretch about 10
miles across Louisa and Orange counties and through Montpelier, the ancestral home of
James Madison. From there, the watershed widens considerably to about 40 miles across,
following a southeasterly direction to its most narrow point, 5 miles, at the Chesapeake
The York basin includes all the land draining into the
Mattaponi, Pamunkey and York rivers and their many creeks or tributaries.
We tend to think of water as infinite, a purchasable
commodity replenished each time rain falls our way. Not so. As man moves into the remote
reaches of the York River watershed and adjoining watersheds in our state
water quantity and quality changes. The population of the York River basin is projected to
grow by 78 percent in the next 40 years.
Just as most of us have learned to recycle aluminum cans
and cardboard as part of our daily lives, we need to garden in ways that protect the water
flowing through our back yards.
Hampton Roads Gardening & Home has formed a partnership
with BayScapes to help educate residents. Between now and fall 2001 we will look closely
at each of the principles of the BayScapes program, learning about landscapes and gardens
that promote pollution prevention.