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From the Editor

When we decided to combine our gardening issue with our annual green (as in environmental) story, we heard repeatedly that “garden” and “green” don’t go together. In other words, if you want a glorious property, you’ll have to forego being eco-friendly. So, we checked it out.

Sure enough, there’s a new term already in circulation: “eco-landscaping.” And, yes, your neighbors are asking the pros about organic options. “We have eliminated the use of all synthetic fertilizers and have switched to full organics,” says Daniel Mazabras, president of Odd Jobs in Darien. “Even though organics are a bit pricey, they deliver far better results than those of a synthetic fertilizer.”

What’s the big deal? We found this simple answer at greenliving.com: “Feed the soil, not the plants.” You’ll save yourself a lot of fertilizer. Plus, “Overuse of nonnatural products can kill all life in the soil,” including organisms (OK, yes, little bugs) that improve soil health.

Turns out, quality may be the best eco-choice a property owner can make. Again, greenliving.com: “When you hire a company focused on sustainable results for the long term, they will provide you with new plants and healthy soil rich in organic matter.” (Or as Mazabras quips, “Don’t plant a $500 tree in a 50¢ hole.”)

In addition to soil treatment, you can be smart and green by being careful about where you plant. A tree that is leafy and full in summer can keep your house cool; bare of leaves in winter, it can keep it warm—but it all depends on proper placement (consult your landscaper and your architect). Also, consider native plants like viburnum, ferns, dogwoods, river birch, and amelanchier, which not only work with the natural composition and compaction of New England soil but also the region’s changing weather conditions (you won’t replace plantings every spring if they make it through our winters). Finally, proper design and good, rich soil can minimize irrigation expenses—should we call that eco-savings or green-wise?

To-Go Season

How do we know it’s countdown to summer? Boatshoes, no dogs on the beach. Yes, true, but the real giveaway is that we hard-working Yankees are claiming our right to outdoor on-the-go dining. Here, new places (and one old favorite) to find easy seasonal fare…

  • We choose to live in New England for only one reason: classic lobster rolls.
    The Boathouse, 16 GreatIsland Rd., Darien, 203-655-3088
  • One “Affogato” (pure vanilla ice cream topped with a double shot of espresso), please.
    Espresso Neat, 20 grove st., darien, 203-202-7215; espressoneat.com
  • Organic, grass-fed, and antibiotic-and hormone-free beef, chicken, or veggie hot dogs.
    Filling Station Co., 19 South Ave., New Canaan, 203-966-4404
  • They’re-too-good-for-guilt beer-battered fish-and-chips.
    The Restaurant, 89 Rowayton Ave., 203-866-4488; rowaytonseafood.com