Cool Gardening Ideas:What Goes Around Comes Around

By Betty Harris

Where do cliches come from and what do they mean?  I looked this one up on Wikipedia and one of the  options was “comes full circle”.  Since that was the really the thought I had had in the beginning I chose that one and this is what it suggested as an alternative meaning or perhaps a “definition”.   To complete a cycle of transition, returning to where one started after gaining experience or exploring other things.

And that is what I want to write about today.  We look at our wonderful world and we know we want to be good stewards and conserve what we’ve got for our grandchildren’s grandchildren because we are love our country.  So I propose that we keep our planet cleaner by NOT putting stuff in the landfill and buying more stuff.

How does that work?  Here is an idea.

A Littleton resident is starting a Salvage Nursery… Now that term is new to me and triggers all kinds of images in the brain but here is what he is doing.  He rescues unwanted plants and landscaping materials from landfills and is building a company that will connect customers and resources by way of some creative recycling.

Now imagine that you have a yard that is “challenging” – that you can’t physically fix or maybe won’t have the money to do the standard scrap off, redesign, rebuild, etc.  So you call Malcolm instead and he comes and removes the unwanted plants for a small fee or perhaps free in some cases.  He then recycles them by giving away to others – recipients have to do your own hauling – and rescues perennials and sells them at much lower prices so others that are financially challenged or just frugal can buy more of what you need or want.  If what you want isn’t available and you are patient you can put your name on Malcolm’s list and he will call when it is available.

Perhaps this, below, will give you more brain pictures to grasp what is going on. Perhaps is is partly what inspired Malcolm’s brain wave.

The Garden Gang, a Littleton group recently did some “full circle” work.  They helped a couple of neighbors, some of whom are in the gang and others that are not.  By helping a handicapped lady redo her flower beds, giving her a lot of summer viewing pleasure, another member’s disposal problem was partly resolved.  One member had a cedar deck redone leaving her with a pile of cedar boards, landscape boards, posts, etc.  The landscape material was used to replace rotted ones at the handicapped lady’s garden.  Some of the boards were used to make raised beds for another member and the posts were used in the corners to strengthen and stabilize the boxes.  Another person, not a garden gang member, took the balance of the cedar wood for a project as yet unreported to this writer.  Meanwhile a pile of cedar that was going to the landfill was parted out to the community that had a real use for it.

In another incident, a member had had a lot of tree trimming done when she bought an older Littleton house which is being transformed into a visually appealing modern looking house on the inside but still fits the Littleton old town character.  Part of the tree trimmings were used to create a hybrid sort of hugelkultur (google hugelkultur) – raised bed garden boxes.  The soil was shifted by 4 ladies and a boy (he’s an adult, I just loved the play on words – remember that old saying about something taking 3 men and a boy to get done?). The soil was removed down to a minimum of 18 inches, the hole partially filled with tree “parts”, mulch, shredded paper and mixed with soil from the hole.  Then the boards mentioned above were used to create a raised bed that surrounded the hole with the wood and other organic matter.  Then the balance of the soil from the hole was put back in the box and mixed with leaves raked from the homeowners yard.

All this happened without bringing in expensive consultants or much outlay of funds other than food for the volunteers.  What goes around comes around or full circle recycling?


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