Benjamin Vogt’s new book, A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future, is not your typical gardening book. It doesn’t teach you how to grow the best cilantro or tips for keeping plants alive during the cold, instead it focuses on how we can positively impact the environment and wildlife around us. Vogt explains, that with climate change and so many species extinct or endangered, we have to completely reimagine our connection with nature.
“Your garden is a protest. It is a place of defiant compassion. It is a space to help sustain wildlife and ecosystem function while providing an aesthetic response that moves you,” writes Vogt. He sees gardening as a way of saying I disagree with how we’ve chosen to interact with nature so far. Furthermore, I’m going to garden, not just a symbol of my protest, but as a way of actively changing that relationship with nature and positively impacting the ecosystems around me. Vogt also explains that gardening can improve us as humans. A greener urban setting can help us to be more productive, creative, focused, and even help cool our environment by combating climate change, giving off water through its leaves and, of course, providing shade. More importantly, Vogt says, humans are supposed to interact with and enjoy nature. It’s only recently, through urban communities, that we’ve become so separated from it.
Benjamin Vogt, Garden Designer with Monarch Gardens and author, A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future