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E-M:/ Green Roofing, Landscape Ecology, water management and Praxis.

As spring breaks and the storm clouds gather, more sustainable strategies need to be considered and implemented now not millions of research dollars into the future.

More than twenty years ago Praxis set out to explore the functionality of horticultural plants beyond simple amenity here in Michigan.  Over the last 20 years Praxis has taken more that 5000 varieties of plants from seed to seed. The last 14 years this work has been carried on daily, at our nursery and family farm in Allegan Michigan, with a focus on hardy perennials. One special interest of ours was to use the plants as a sequential nectar and pollen resource for beneficial insects and alternative pollinators for the express purpose of reducing or eliminating pesticide use on the grounds of our living environments.  Another purpose was as an alternatives to Corn-Soy-Grain rotations that would be profitable enough for small farmers to stay on the land. Also as phenalogical indicators to time beneficial releases with a specific developmental stages of certain plants outside of just degree days; a more site specific tuning of pest management strategies. As components of permaculture wind breaks, and green roofing plant studies for cleaner air and water management, treating water as the precious substance that it is turning urban and rural landscape efforts into more effective "cloud factories" transpiration not run off is our goal..  Praxis has assembled and grown hundreds of suitable cold hardy succulents, other xeric, praire, montane and aquatic plants to assist in water management.  For example we now have more than 200 varieties of the genus sedum in culture, more than any other nursery in Michigan.  

Nature and natural life form use in problem solving is not experimental, something often implied by university researchers.
There is a need for this type of thinking to no longer be in the realm of "experimental' or the "some day'" or the prison of "more research is needed" but to be embraced as real and practical and in the now.  Green roofs in city settings can take the load off of storm drains and and prevent predictable sewage escape events.  They can help heat and cool our homes and businesses avoiding the burning of fossil fuel for energy needed to do the same task.  Friable, organic soil holds a lot of water in a useful way, more than chemically hammered soil, the product of many agrochemical growing strategies.

Samuel DeFazio
2723 116th Ave
Allegan, MI  49010  616-673-2793   http://www.praxis-ibc.com