Author to speak at natural gardening workshop

Acclaimed environmentalist and best-selling author Carole Rubin will speak at a chemical-free gardening and lawn maintenance workshop. “Green Thumb/Green Planet” will be presented from 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 16, at Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2701 Clifton Ave., Rockford.

Rubin is the author of How to Get Your Lawn and Garden Off Drugs, Second Edition 2003, and How to Get Your Lawn Off Grass, A North American Guide to Turning Off the Water Tap and Going Native, 2002, both by Harbour Publishing. Admission to the workshop is free.

Readings from her books, lawn and garden care facts and figures, organic and native yard how-to’s, a history of the lawn as status symbol, and slides of gorgeous yards and gardens from all over North America will be featured.

Consider these facts from her books: “The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 43 million kilograms (95 million pounds) of chemicals are applied to American lawns each year, and that number grows by 6 percent annually.” What about water? “Most of the drinking water applied to your lawn never even makes it to the deep roots of your grass plants. Much is lost to evaporation, or, at best, sits on the mat of thatch at the base of the grass leaves…” How about pesticides? “Chemical pesticides were first formulated during the Second World War as agents of chemical warfare, central nervous system disruptors to be used on humans. A multi-billion dollar industry has ballooned in the last five decades, led by the companies who were first commissioned to come up with chemicals that would kill humans in war.”

In her provocatively frank and funny presentation, Rubin will challenge our beliefs about water purity and abundance, our complacent use of the products of technology, the myths and phobias we harbor about insects and “weeds,” and encourage us to take a new look at how we see ourselves—and our gardens—in the world.

Copies of Rubin’s books will be available for signing and sale after the presentation. All are welcome to this free event.

The workshop is sponsored by Four Rivers Environmental Coalition, a consortium of groups encompassing the watersheds of the Rock, Sugar, Pecatonica and Kishwaukee rivers. Seating is limited. To reserve your seat, call the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District at 877-6100.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!