Skip to main content
Low carbon growing tipsParticipant diaries

Relishing the recycling in my garden

By 7th May 2018One Comment

I have always enjoyed ‘Recycling’, which along with ‘Sustainability’ is now less eccentric and more acceptable, so was pleased to be able to tuck into Kaska’s earlier blog on the subject.

I too reuse cans but mostly as containers, lots for paintbrushes. I now shall buy non-plastic labels and I did find a job lot of oddly shaped slate markers on eBay. They were used on a winter sowing of broad beans – first ones were forgotten by an inside corner, just about rescued to face an icebox of a greenhouse, and none survived. I’d also sown sweet peas into loo roll innards but only two of those remain. With frosts finished now seed sewing is easier.
I have started using innards of packets (some biscuits, fishcakes) as pot trays – they are round or square, taking either pot shape. My greenhouse has been full of mini-greenhouses from plastic packaging and various blobby shapes on a mostly sunny windowsill. My understanding is that M&S is better than many big chains for local produce but everything is still thoroughly encased in plastic. I try to reuse before availing myself of Fife’s recycling system. Is it true, that all those “usual” plastic garden pots are not recyclable, so once they split or crack, they are destined for land fill or worse?

At a Beautiful Fife Seminar in Glenrothes this spring, one of the presentations was on the use of perennial plants instead of mass municipal annual bedding with a huge reduction in costs, plastic trays, transport, waste and an increase in wildlife. The same speaker reminded us that nettles are home to peacock and admiral butterfly caterpillars, so I shall keep my tricky to reach whopper nettle and just try to contain it.

For a different twist on recycling – at February DCA Exhibition a mixture of pale colour tones of concrete blocks all made using moulds of different plastic containers, interesting patterns, some very familiar! I could not find my photos but you can find lots of photos and videos from the exhibition here.

In the photo above you can see my recent purchase of a recycled plastic water butt which will take up some of the water that runs from the bottom of my garden and ices up in the lane in winter (neighbours have noticed). It is SO satisfying to use, and easier, being near to where little veg beds and greenhouse sit. Must make more use of the comfrey next to it, for tea maybe or mulch from chopped up leaves.

My garden is coming to life with the warmer weather. I have a few plants good for early pollinators. Two Pulmonaria: the earliest, the pink one was already in my garden and the variegated came from a Surrey garden many moons ago. There is also the tiny perennial sweet pea from a local plant sale. They have been buzzing but I failed to capture the bees being busy – despite Kaska’s helpful phone picture workshop last month! Blue flowers in abundance at this time: Anemones, Scillas and a buttery primrose that have multiplied from one that came, via a friend, from an Irish Convent’s grounds.

Wonderful to look at the colour in the garden, especially as thanks to modern medicine, or surgery, I can, this week, see them so much more clearly!

Barbara Bell

Gardening has meant a lot for a long time. From seeds sewing to to looking at colour (can be chaotic) combinations interspersed with recycled stuff. I am much involved with local public space planting. Also have edibles in a smallish raised bed, with mixed results! I look out for ideas for when cooking for my vegetarian grandchildren.

One Comment

  • PLANT says:

    Hi Barbara – a great post! I have been worried about this plastic plant pot recycling issue ever since I have heard that Peter’s been turned away from a recycling centre with a load of pots we wanted to recycle from the Community Garden. I could not believe that it’s not possible to do this so I looked it up and it turns out that it is very tricky. So tricky that garden centres who used to provide recycling bins for pots and planters have stopped doing so now.

    I found an interesting blog ‘Gardening without plastic’ which has a series of very recent posts about this issue, including some great suggestions for plastic alternatives. The blogger is based in England but it’s still very much relevant. Here is the link:

    Happy growing!


Leave a Reply