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Garden with Mother Nature, not against her...

Bayscapes include

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Garden with Mother Nature, not against her...

Introduction:  An environmentally healthy landscape program

Aug. 2000:   Homeowners Guide to Designing Your Property

Oct. 2000: Conservation landscaping

Dec. 2000: Enhancing Wildlife Habitat

Feb. 2001: BayScaping for the Long Term

Apr. 2001: Creating landscape diversity

That’s the basic philosophy of BayScapes, an environmentally healthy landscape program promoted by the York Watershed Council.

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 Virginia’s coastal plain, representing about 7 percent of the state’s 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 Bay.

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.

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