A rant on how artificiallly colored mulch is now yet another symptom of a failing, sick society. Two recent mulch ‘incidents’:
1. Craig went to Home Depot to buy some bags of soil amendments and mulch. After much searching, he discovers that the only bagged mulch they sell is all DYED. Choices being Ronald McDonald Red and Black. They no longer offer natural brown or natural reddish-brown cedar mulch.
2. A friend who is an organically minded, natural living enthusiast purchased 3 yards of mulch, bulk, delivered to her house this week. Her goal was to mulch her gardens without the waste produced by all those bags. She consulted with me a few times–here’s a loose interpretation of one of our conversations:
S: They said it’s triple ground
me: that’s good, that means it won’t have a lot of stringy bits in it.
S: They’re delivering it today
me:fast service–good, what kind of mulch is it?
S: I don’t know, they said it’s black
me: natural black or is it dyed?
S: OH NO! (click, hangs up phone)
S: (calling back 3 minutes later) It’s dyed black aargh!
Of course, the mulch company had already charged her credit card, loaded the truck and were on their way to her house, so she spread it around, probably grumbling quietly to herself the whole time.
My point in this post is this: What the heck is wrong with society that we need to add color to mulch? What is the source of the pigment? Is it water based or will it leach out and eventually poison the groundwater some more and kill all the plants around it with yet more petro chemicals? Are we so vain that we need ‘designer’ mulches to match our designer lifestyles? What is so wrong with the plants being the important element in our gardens? Mulch is meant for weed suppression and moisture conservation. It is not ‘makeup’ designed to dress up lost cause landscaping. If your yard looks that bad, I promise you that orange mulch isn’t the answer to your problems, really.
IMNSHO, this is yet another symptom of a society that is really, really ill. I realize that nobody’s perfect. We all have things that we do/buy/wear/eat that are maybe not the best for us and the earth in different ways. Some of this stuff is just part of living in this society, some is unavoidable, some of it can be chalked up to the choices we make as individuals for whatever reasons. For example, I understand if you want to wear purple. It happens to be my favorite color. It takes dyes to make clothing in colors, and without some color, life would be boring. There is a long standing tradition of dyeing cloth. Food coloring is another example. My family chooses not to ingest this poison, but I realize that it is an old product that people find difficult to eliminate, or are so used to thinking is benign that they don’t realize it’s a petroleum product (yeah, really–makes you think twice, doesn’t it?). What I don’t get is why NEW products that are perfect the way they come (from nature) are adding to the list of pollutants and chemicals in a day when the effects of this stuff is so brutally obvious…terrible allergies and asthma, rampant cancer rates, global warming, trash piling up all over the planet. Honestly folks, why can’t we just put natural stuff in and on our yards? If you need something exciting, plant something that actually BLOOMS in your garden, instead of that buttload of ugly evergreen shrubs sheared into pompoms and gumdrops and cubes. And keep your nasty chemical dyes the hell out of the mulch. It really burns my britches, my eyes, and the earth. Can you just give nature a chance this one time? I beg you.