The Bristol Magazine April 2021

Page 70

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Life recycle

The mirror maze at Royal Fort Gardens. Sculpture is a great way to add your own personality to the garden, whether it’s a stone figurine or something upcycled and rustic

From composting to pallet-pimping, Elly West is promoting sustainable outdoor space personalisation


wo things have got me thinking this month about recycling opportunities. The first is some building work on my house, at the end of which I was left with a skip loaded with rubbish, including five or six pallets to get rid of. The second is the introduction in North Somerset of a paid-for green waste collection, as I live in the minority of council districts that have offered this service for free up until this year. We all know how important recycling is, and most people who love their gardens tend to be ecologically aware and take this on board without question. However, while we may not get a lot of pleasure from dutifully sorting out our recycling bins ready for the weekly collection, recycling in the garden can be a much more positive and enjoyable experience. I love seeing ideas on social media, and elsewhere, for garden projects that upcycle unwanted objects. It’s fun to personalise your outdoor room. Everything gets softened by planting and you can move things around and experiment with colour in a way that you may not want to in your indoor space. I advertised my leftover pallets on a local WhatsApp group and they were snapped up within the hour by people wanting to use them in their gardens, which makes me much happier than putting them in the skip or going to the effort of chopping them up for firewood. But I couldn’t resist keeping one to use in my own garden; I’m just not sure how yet. Maybe a planter? Or perhaps a bench? A table? A pallet is ideal for a rustic planter when stood on its side. With very little adaption it creates natural shelves for plant pots that are ideal for herbs and trailing plants in a sunny spot. Paint in whatever colour you like, or leave it natural then hang it on a wall or simply lean against a hard surface. 70 THE BRISTOL MAGAZINE


APRIL 2021


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Ladders are another good find for upcycling and reusing in the garden. A small wooden stepladder is ideal as you can place pots directly on the treads, or you could hang plants from the rungs to create a tiered display. So if you’re looking for an Easter project to get your garden ready for summer, why not try local giveaway groups such as Freegle or Freecycle for items you can repurpose in the garden? One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!

A pallet is ideal for a rustic planter when stood on its side. With very little adaption it creates natural shelves for plant pots

Just about any durable item that holds soil can become a garden planter, and I’ve seen tin cans, old sinks, and even boots and wellies used to create quirky displays. Just make sure there are holes in the base to provide drainage, and remember: the bigger the container, the less often you’ll need to water it and the more likely your plants are to thrive. Having said that, sedums and other succulents, plus many Mediterranean-type plants, can survive poor soil and little water, so make good candidates for smaller containers.’The ultimate in garden recycling, though, is composting. With the letter from the council about the introduction of green bin fees came information about composting to encourage us to recycle green waste at home rather than through the