Wednesday, June 25, 2008

German Book of Wolfgang Oehme's Life - Just Released Jan. 2008

Wolfgang Oehme is my father, so I am honored to help spread information about his new book. So please read on.

Announcing the new book: Between Garden Grasses: Wolfgang Oehme and his Extraordinary Gardens in the New World by Stefan Leppert.

Green Harmony Living feels privileged to be the exclusive US retailer of this unique, just released German language book about Wolfgang Oehme's life and work as a preeminent landscape architect. Hot off the press in January 2008, this book chronicles the professional journey of Wolfgang Oehme. From his childhood in war torn Germany, to his postwar forays around Europe, to his giant leap to the east coast of the US, to his remarkable solo career designing gardens, to his highly successful partnership with James van Sweden with their landscape architecture firm Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, Inc., and ultimately to his successful solo projects in his German homeland and the US.

The books 144 pages are packed with 225 impressive photos of people, dreamlike gardens, drawings, Wolfi plants, and much more. The books' many photos make this book a worthy show book for your coffee table, even if the German language is not in your lexicon.

You may order this book and learn much more about Wolfgang Oehme at his official website

Wolfgang will personally autograph your copy if you wish, and shipping is free!!!

Wolfgang Oehme Foundation:
Each purchase of this book supports the Wolfgang Oehme Foundation. This foundation is committed 1) to supporting the maintenance of the numerous public gardens in Towson designed by Wolfgang, 2) to educating the public on Wolfgang’s style of bold, natural, and sustainable garden design, maintenance, and horticulture, and 3) to establishing a large public garden, like Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, that will physically convey Wolfgang Oehme’s unique vision of bold, natural, and sustainable garden design, maintenance, and horticulture.

Where Are the Bike Lanes and Trails in Maryland???!!!

Dear One Less Car!

I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of your organization. I am a bicycle advocate and rider and feel the biggest need right now is more places to ride safely in the state of MD. Where I live in Towson there aren’t any bike lanes or trails so bike riding around here is a challenge because it doesn't feel safe and many roads simply aren't suitable for bikes b/c of the high speed, the lanes are too narrow, and/or the roads are too busy. The rest of Baltimore County and for that matter, the state of MD, is lacking in bike facilities like these where one can ride safely. There are of course a few notable exceptions such as the Northern Central and the B & A Trails that are great but are too few in number and too far away from where I live. We should have the bicycle infrastructure in place that allows everyone in this state to be able to get on their bike at their home and bike to anywhere they want whether it is to go shopping, to work, to the bank, the post office, to the movie theater, and so on. And they should be able to do so on a safe network of onroad bike lanes and offroad bike trails throughout the state.

The image above is a view of the excellent bike trail around the Amber Lake at Bitterfeld, Germany. We certainly can learn much from the many beautiful bicycle facilities in numerous European countries.

Does your group ever lobby for the state or local jurisdictions to construct more bike lanes and/or bike trails? If yes, please tell me more about this. If no, why not, and do you have any suggestions for how to go about doing so?

Best regards,

Roland Oehme, RLA
Landscape Architect
Green Harmony Design

Why Are Humans Making Toxins That Kill Us and All Other Living Things?

Hi Roger!

I am glad to hear that you understand how toxic insecticides are and don't want to use them. I never use insecticides in my work. I find that they are unnecessary and there are better alternatives. Some people think that a little poison is not so bad. They think that sometimes it is necessary to use toxic chemicals to kill the rascals! I have concluded that this short sighted thinking is what will bring humanity to its demise. People need to realize that a little poison here and a little there adds up to a lot when looked at the whole US and when looked at over the decades. I just read an article in the Sierra Club’s magazine, Sierra, Jul/Aug 2008, “Songbird Swan Song: Do your food miles trample bobolinks and warblers?”. The article blames pesticides used all too frequently in Latin America countries on food crops that us Americans buy, as the chief reason songbirds have declined. Many of the songbirds that we see during the summers in the US overwinter in Latin America and the pesticides kill outright many of these birds decreasing their populations and threatening their existence.

Another reason to not use toxic chemicals that concerns us humans more directly can be summed up in one word: cancer. We know what causes cancer, mostly toxins in the environment that we come into contact with, and toxins in the foods we eat, and yet we are still looking for a cure. The cure is to stop making these poisons in the first place, and this will only happen when enlightened people like ourselves stop buying and using toxic stuff.

Europe has recently enacted a sweeping new chemical law that requires chemical manufacturers to prove a substance is nontoxic before it can be sold. This law is the opposite of regulations in the backward thinking US policy that requires a chemical to proven as hazardous before it can be removed from commerce. Hopefully, the lure of selling to Europe’s large market will compel American chemical companies to produce nontoxic chemicals in the future. This certainly highlights how big business rules the US’s policy and not the elected (supposed) leaders in Congress.

Regarding the Japanese beetles, a few of them is nothing to get alarmed about. Just pick them off and smash them in your hands or stomp under your feet. Using an insecticide is never necessary for these beetles. Insecticides don’t discriminate; they kill everything they come into contact with, including humans, perhaps not right away but over time as with cancer. If you have a fish pond you can feed them to your fish. Just throw the Japanese beetles into the water, the fish will see and eat them. If at some point you do have many Japanese beetles, the traps work the best. I definitely would not use the soil stuff, b/c it sounds like it works against all grubs, and there are native grubs that have a right to live and benefit the environment.

To a healthier, natural world!

Roland Oehme