Green Gardening: The Scrounger’s Garden

One of my favorite displays at the Cleveland Botanical Garden is the Scrounger’s Garden.  A little while back I promised Jo over at Home Life Online that I would do a post about the Scrounger’s Garden.  Back in July she wrote a blog post titled Recycle, Reuse and Repair expressing her frustration with the way things are manufactured to be thrown away and replaced rather than repaired.  I shared her sentiments especially when it comes to how wasteful it can be as well as the lesson that is being taught to young people (“Throw it away and buy a new one!”).  Because I’m a grumpy old lady that way.  Heh.

(Reminder:  Click on the photos to see the larger version.)

The Scrounger’s Garden is located within the Hershey’s Children Garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, and is a great example of what you can do to reuse some of your old stuff.

I’m not sure what that is supposed to be hanging around in what looks like a disorganized spider’s web.  A scarecrow, maybe?  I’ve been hoping we’d get back sometime this summer to see if they were using it, thereby identifying what it is by its use.

The first time I saw the reuse of household goods for the garden was (I think) somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia.  We drove by a house that had a flower bed in the front yard.  It was literally a flower bed.  They’d taken an old brass bed frame and used it to fence in their flower garden.  I’ve since seen a number of clever ways to reuse things most people send to the landfill, including a toilet transformed into a big flower pot.

Their use of the galoshes (boots, wellies, whatever you call them) reminded me of the Shoe Garden in San Francisco.  I’ll see if I can dig up one of the photographs I took while visiting that garden.

I’m hoping to repurpose some of my old boots in a similar way, as well as use some other old household items that would normally be trashed.  Not only will I be able to reuse items and keep them out of the landfill, I can add a touch of fun and whimsy to the garden and flower beds while I’m at it.  The trick, of course, is not to overdo it.

Ah-ha!  I found the Shoe Garden photos.  It’s a little different than I remembered it.  I do remember those sparkly ruby red shoes, though. has an interesting article about the garden and how it got started:  If the garden shoe fits, plant it.  Go on over and read it.  I’ll wait.

Finished?  Good.  I told you it was interesting.

While I was waiting for you to come back, I went on a search for articles regarding the repurposing of household items in the garden.  Here are a few I found:

Instead of throwing things away,  think about repurposing them in the garden or as an indoor planter.  Or just think about repurposing them in general.  M repurposed a stack of old science books that a company was going to throw away.  He made them into a very cool lamp that we use in our library/guest room (some people — such as our granddaughter — know it as The Princess Room).

(Repurposed books)

We’ve also used old clay pots as wall sconces.  But that’s another post for another day.

Since I’m on the subject of repurposing, Kel over at the X facta has been doing some repurposing too.  Check out this Art Attack and  Something new from something old.  Also, Kathy at Lake Superior Spirit wrote about ways to repurpose calendars, cards, and an assortment of other items in Taking back the world one card at a time.

When you have the time, head on over to Jo’sKel’s, and Kathy’s places.  Introduce yourself.  I think you all will like each other.  You are all such creative and talented people.  😀