The Green Spot (2)

We were in western Ireland last week, and I was out on a run when I passed this beautiful piece of re-purposed farm machinery. A geared wheel as a fence.IMG_0348The fence in question was to a large pasture near Cong, on Lough Corrib.IMG_0349

The sheep are marked here, as they are across Ireland, with big splotches of color.

Photo: PK Read

Photo: PK Read

These particular sheep were Green Spots, appropriately enough for me, since the Irish whiskey I liked best (from the three that I tried) was, indeed, Green Spot. The whiskey name comes from the same origin – the different ageing barrels used to be marked with color splotches, just like the sheep.

Only a few of the lambs were marked with their own fresh green spot. Not sure that bodes well for the unmarked lambs…but they were very friendly.IMG_0346

Sideways Vessel

Design: Rosenbaum

Design: Rosenbaum

Well, this could save numerous trips to the recycling center as well as to the supermarket. Such a simple, elegant solution to urban gardening, something that is do-it-yourself and requires no land. The materials are readily accessible, the soil requirements are minimal. Even the tutorial offered by the Brazilian design firm that originated this vertical garden is simple and elegant.

Design: Rosenbaum

Design: Rosenbaum

I haven’t tried this myself, but I suppose the planting bottles drain out the suspension holes at the bottom. Certainly bottle color and size could be varied.

Design: Rosenbaum

Design: Rosenbaum

There are so many things to like about this, but what I would really like to see is what the garden looks like once it is mature. I imagine a wall of sweet pea plants would look very fine indeed.

Looking at this, if a gardener wanted to make efficient use of water. a drip watering system could be installed along the suspension wires to avoid waste and minimize exposure of the supporting wall to water damage.

And to anyone thinking of doing this themselves, I would encourage them to plant seeds bought from independent seed companies, or bought locally from nurseries. This would be a lovely way to support local seed varieties and producers. It’s even a way to feed and support pollinators like bees in an urban environment, provided that some flowering plants are included.

Finally, there’s this miniature version for any stray caps left over from all the bottle cutting.

Bottle cap planters with basil sprouts Via: Inhabitat.com

Bottle cap planters with basil sprouts
Via: Inhabitat.com

Where do the trees go?

Trees on Fifth Avenue

Trees on Fifth Avenue

While in NYC this week I saw countless discarded Christmas trees lining the curbsides of various burroughs. After all, it was the week after New Year and the holiday season was officially over. I wondered what the life path of local Christmas trees for the New York City region might be. From what I can tell, the trees come from a wide region – from North Carolina to Quebec to Vermont. When I was in the city in early December, many vendors were selling trees starting at $50, so I’m assuming that anyone who came in from North Carolina or Vermont must be selling premium goods of some kind to make the long trip worth their while. I’ve seen articles in local newspapers stating that the ‘right’ tree can sell for as much as $900.

After completing their service as holiday decorations, the trees are discarded. New York City started a recycling program some time ago that allows for curbside pick-up (assuming the trees have been stripped of decorations and aren’t in plastic sacks), and also sponsors a MulchFest which invites city residents to bring their trees to designated park areas for mulching into compost to be used in city parks. Thus, the trees of Quebec, Vermont, upstate New York, even North Carolina, can be found at the base of new plants in Central Park and elsewhere. Residents are also invited to cut the branches from their trees and use them to cover the roots of the trees that line the city streets. This explains all the little sidewalk squares of earth throughout the city that are festively covered in branches – which I suppose are picked up as trash once winter has ended.

As for us, we live in the French countryside. No MulchFest or curbside pick-up – if you want to get rid of a tree here, you either take it down to the local d├ęchetterie (recycling lot, usually no more than 10 minutes away from any village), or you do what we do: Set the tree upright in a back corner of the garden, wait a few months, and then chop it up and use it for heat.

Trees in Lower Manhattan.Unfortunately, most of these trees are headed for the dump because they are wrapped in plastic

Trees in Lower Manhattan.
Unfortunately, most of these trees are headed for the dump because they are wrapped in plastic