ON a warm afternoon in March, Felder Rushing, a horticulturist and host of “The Gestalt Gardener,” a weekly show on Mississippi Public Radio, sat in his lush front garden on a chair made of recycled bike tires. In the distance, a mower could be heard running at a neighbor’s home, a low buzz cutting through the quiet.
Mr. Rushing, dressed in jeans and a guayabera shirt, his long gray hair tucked into a hat, looked at his grassless yard and smiled. “I’m sitting out in the sun like a fat old lizard,” he said, “and they’re sweating and huffing and puffing.”
The mix of shrubs and flowers Mr. Rushing planted instead of a traditional lawn is an example of his “Slow Gardening” approach. The term takes its name and inspiration from the Slow Food movement, whose adherents believe in using local ingredients harvested in an environmentally responsible way. Mr. Rushing says that he didn’t coin the term, but that he has “appropriated” it.
A busy lecturer on the horticulture society circuit and a born proselytizer, Mr. Rushing, 56, has long advocated a reliance on perennials and an acceptance of a little disorder, and expressed a rebellious affection for lawn ornaments that might in some circles be called trashy (pink flamingoes, for example).
Lately, he’s been preaching slow gardening.