12 ideas for greening your garden

By Karen Deer

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

So much of what we trash can find a second home in the garden. Going green in the garden is not only about planting trees and flowers, but it’s also about using natural and organic products. It’s finding natural ways to solve traditional garden issues such as pests or disease. It’s also a way to make a beautiful and safe garden to enjoy. “Homeowners should recycle in their garden because it saves money, and it’s a way to be creative in the garden,” says Abby Lapides, manager at Sugar Creek Gardens in Kirkwood, Mo. Tree stumps, twigs and branches are just a few of the natural items that you can reuse to make your garden appear more rustic. “It’s a nice way to recycle naturally,” says Lapides. With a little twine, a unique trellis can be made.

One of the best and easiest ways to recycle in the garden is to make a compost pile. Grass clippings, old leaves and food waste can be made into compost. “At Sugar Creek Gardens, we call compost ‘gardener’s gold,’” adds Lapides.

Repurposing unexpected items, such as an old dresser, a used car tire or even an oversize vegetable can, offers a natural look in the garden with a creative spark.

Lapides has planted in old wagons and old mailboxes. With a little imagination, anything that soil can go into can become a planter.

Here are a few of our favorite recycling ideas

1. Don’t trash that old baby crib. Use the crib rails to make a trellis.

2. When the kids grow out of their rain boots, reuse them for planters.

3. Fill old dresser drawers with dirt and soil. Add your favorite annuals and greenery.

4. Repurpose an old tire as a planter. Spray paint the tire. Add dirt and soil. Plant your favorite annuals for a colorful display. For instructions on painting a tire, visit ehow.com and search “how to paint a tire.”

5. An old wooden ladder can become shelves for small potted plants.

6. Plant a fairy garden in an old washtub or birdbath.

7. Turn an old six-cup metal muffin pan into a bird feeder. Drill holes in the four corners and slide string or a thin chain through the holes. Fill cups with bird seed and hang from a tree branch.

8. Don’t throw out your old wooden windows. They can make an eye-popping display. Place your garden pots on the window pane.

9. Reuse empty vegetable cans and coffee cans. Spray paint them with an exterior rustproof paint, poke a few holes in the bottom of the cans and fill with soil and annuals.

10. Don’t get rid of that old school desk with a flip-top lid. You can create a fairy garden inside the desk top filled with fairy garden furniture, fairies, gravel, blue sea glass (to create a water scene), mini animals and miniature ground covers. Add spring annuals for color.

11 Recycled oak wine barrels make good planters because they are deep and sturdy.

12. Reuse wine corks, stuck through wooden skewers, to label herbs in your garden.