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The Tomorrow Garden

The Tomorrow Garden is a lushly-written string quartet, replete with coloristic effects and sensitive phrasing. The title is a reference to Audrey Hepburn’s quote, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” I've long been a lover of nature, so it should come as no surprise that the moment I acquired a patch of ground to call my own, I set to work converting half of it to native wildflower beds. The subsequent shift from sterile lawn to a space that literally buzzes with life was immediate and astounding. The ecological benefits are immeasurable: marshy, dead spots in the lawn are now covered in lush grass, and the property remained vibrant and green despite months of drought and weeks of 100+ degree temperatures.  Even a storm that dropped seven inches of rain in one night produced no noticeable erosion despite the garden’s location on a hill.   Yet, while I’m thrilled at all these benefits, my true underlying goal is to combat one of the greatest challenges of our time: climate change.  I believe that planting native gardens can be a significant part in a broader effort to reduce our carbon emissions.

Plants are natural carbon capturers, literally converting CO2 from the atmosphere into plant tissues. While trees are excellent for carbon storage (they’re basically huge blocks of former atmosphere and, unless burned, they’ll be around a while), I argue that prairie plants are just as important if not more so due to their natural regenerative cycle: every season, they die back and must pull more carbon from the atmosphere to regrow their leaves and flowers. Through composting and other natural processes, the dead plant matter is converted into soil mass.  So, every year, my plants work hard to offset my carbon footprint (even if only by a little), and my soil becomes more capable of supporting life. In planting my garden, not only do I believe in tomorrow, I am actively working to make tomorrow happen.

Duration: 6 min.
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