Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Recycling - It's a Garden Thing

This rescued hosta I call Big Blue.
As customs are certain to do, articles regarding recycling abound in every publication as if it's something new.  Current generations always think they just discovered the very essence of everything - I know my generation did, too.  In that vein, the new/old idea is then given a new label and the media is awash with wonderful ideas.

Recycling has always been incorporated into gardening as surely as kissing is to lovers.  Garden recycling was simply called by different names or even more simply "just done".

Seed saving is an excellent example of recycling.  Originally it was done as about the only way to make sure a variety of plant ended up in the gardens of the world.  Because so many people migrated to the new world, they brought the necessary seeds to start their food and to a lesser extent, their flowers. The old tale of Johnny Appleseed was based upon need and fact.

This old fashioned fragrant climbing petunia
was from seed from a neighbor.
The current seed savers enterprise is based on a desire to make sure old or vintage plants aren't lost during phases in the plant industry where something goes out of favor.  Only to have another generation wish it could be found again.  Or only to recognize the old variety had qualities that we wish we could incorporate today.

As an example, think of the old juicy and flavorful tomatoes vs. today's tomato that was developed only because it shipped well and stayed red in the grocery.

One of the best ways to recycle plants is to share plant starts or seeds with others.  Gardeners do this because most of us realize the joy of giving something special to someone who will treasure it as much as we have in our own garden.  In older generations, it was done to help another family have variety enough to make meals healthy.

Daylily "Chloe" was from my daughter's
My gardens are filled with the beauty from some other gardener who either by the fun of sharing or by the necessity of sharing allowed me to have a plant.

If you want to see determination on the face of a gardener, watch them "save" a plant from destruction.  Due to a new landscaping idea, new building construction or from the simply clueless, most of us have rushed in with shovels to grab some old beauties from annihilation. 

I often credit in these articles plants my daughter and I rescued from a parsonage in Galesburg, where the new vicar decided to bulldoze the entire English garden to make a dog run.  After we did the mandatory "what is he thinking" noises, we took out three pickup loads of mostly old varieties of plants.  This was "by the necessity" type of recycling.

Gardeners will also be able to tell you exactly who gave them a plant or the entire story related to their recycled gems.  It's one of the best parts of gardening - working around this or that plant and it brings a memory of that person or situation.  Working in the garden is like living in a diary or photo album.  This the what is called "fun sharing" recycling.

Annuals are perfect for seed saving.
The necessity of saving plants from extinction, the necessity of saving plants for feeding your family in a new world or simply the joy of sharing plants with another gardener is recycling.  Dang it's fun to be trendy in a recycled kind of way.    

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