Earth Day is on April 22, 2010!  I had been reminded by news of a contest on a blog that I happened to find one day cruising the internet. Garden bloggers were invited to write and submit a blog dedicated to what they did for Earth Day.  You really must check out  Earth Day on Jan’s blog Thank You For Today for a list of all of these great posts.   And after looking at many of the other posts, which, I must say, have such good advice and information to offer, I wondered what could I add? The more I thought about it the more I realized that recycling was my key word for Earth Day and the garden.

I hope that if there is one theme that winds it’s way through my blog, it’s recycling. We are a couple of old Hippie artists, who were there for the start of the recycling movement. For us it is just a way of life. We buy everything used and we also get a lot of “good stuff” as I like to call it, absolutely free. Best price there is. And as I mentioned in other posts, it’s a pretty abundant lifestyle too.

Of course we compost. Every scrap of banana peel, tea bag, coffee ground and egg shell is collected in these recycled coffee bins that I brought home from a job. The tiles on the backsplash behind them are all recycled. In fact every tile was actually free and found at garage sales or from sample boards thrown out by tile stores.

The composter the food scraps go into was also free, someone in the neighborhood was tossing it. Our rainbarrel is a recycled drum formerly used for soap.


In the green house, I recycle too. Every pot from years past is saved to be reused, trays are sometimes taped up to plug leaks but are still put to work. These Black eyed Susan vines are sprouting in cookie packaging.


The seeds for the Purple Cone flower, which I am rather impatiently waiting to see sprout, are planted and living under the protection of packaging, which in it’s previous life housed a cake bought for my birthday a short while ago. In its next re-use it may yet end up as a container for my mosiac shards in the studio.


Out in the garden we have, now wait a second, I have to mentally count, at least 4 wheelbarrows. Only 3 are shown here.  All free or almost free. All recycled. I have an abundance of wheelbarrows you could say. I think they are kind of beautiful, in a sort of colorful, shabby, knocked about and used, way.


Now that I’ve reached the garden with my recycling theme, I’d like to show you a few pieces of our garden art. Now maybe art for the garden is an odd sort of theme for Earth Day but a lot of our art is made from recyled materials. The mosaic in the herb garden is a recycled chimney covered in old dishes and tiles.

The stepping stones are all made using recycled dishes and tiles, a type of mosaic art called Pique Assiette. In fact, all of my mosaic artwork is made from recycled dishes, tiles and ornaments.  If you would like to see how to make them check my post Creating a Mosaic Stepping Stone Helen’s Way.



And old sink found in, I must admit, unashamedly, a dumpster dive, is home to our succulents.


The chime that Bill fashioned out of an old anniversary cup found at a garage sale and hung with flattened silver cutlery is another recycled artwork. There’s much more art to see on one of my previous posts about garden art called Bill’s Driftwood Chair and Other Garden Art Whimsies.


There are so many things that we can recycle and reuse for our gardens from artwork to garden furniture to garden tools and implements. There really is no need to go out and buy new most of the time. I always like to say the world is an abundant place as long as you don’t mind second hand. Not buying new saves resources and cuts pollution. Buying used saves more stuff from ending up in landfills too. I’m feeling like this little post is just a warm up to another post.  I’ll have to write more another day about all the great stuff we’ve found for our garden that’s recycled or re-used.
And as for these insulators that I’m finishing this post with, a most fortunate find at the local 2nd hand store, well, they are going to become more art for the garden. Imagine them now hanging on the top of varying lengths of rebar, in groupings amongst the flowers, glinting in the sun….. Ah you’re seeing it aren’t you? I’m sure that most of us are recycling and I do hope that this little post has added a few new ideas. Happy Earth Day from our garden to yours.


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34 Comments to “Earth Day in the Garden from a Recycling Artist’s Perspective”

  1. June says:

    Hi Helen,
    I like how you incorporated all your favourite things in this post: art making, gardening and recycling!

  2. Karen Sloan says:

    Oh Helen. I’m in awe of your garden. Those mosaics are so incredible… Am loving all of the colours. Truly, a feast for my eyes.
    Even the wheelbarrows look like sculpture! (I only have 2 here, lol)
    Anyhow, you certainly inspire me.
    Have a sunny week!

  3. Hi Karen, Glad you like the mosaics. I think you and I are both big fans of color judging by your artworks. Oddly enough, as for the wheelbarrows, I was wrong to think I had 4, it’s actually 5, believe it or not, and they are often all in use!

  4. Hi June, Glad you noticed that and liked it. Actually, when I think about it, I suppose that’s because they are all passions of mine and they tend to integrate.

  5. Helen, what you have created is amazing. And beautiful, stunning, colorful, and so lovely.

    I am so into those turquoise glass insulators, they have always been a treasure we collected from childhood. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for them.

    A great post, and a interesting take on gardening recycling.


  6. Hi Jen, Glad you enjoyed my take on recycling in the garden. I love those insulators too and snapped them up as soon as I saw them. They will be hung on either rebar posts or twigs and set into the garden in groups. I have heard that you can get little solar lights now and I wondered if there is some way to put those into the insulators. I still need to check that out.

  7. mary-lou says:

    Viva les recyclables! Another great post Helen.

  8. Hi Mary Lou, Thank you, glad you enjoyed my take on recycling for the garden. Happy Earth Day!

  9. Hi Helen,

    I really, really like the spoon and fork wind chime – so unique! And I think the wheelbarrows are beautiful in a shabby, knocked about way, too. Functioning works of art, I’d say.


  10. Hi Abby, Glad you like our little wind chime. It’s fun to collect all the pieces for them. They make great gifts too. I like your description of my wheelbarrows as functioning works of art.

  11. Emmon says:

    Hi – I find both your writing, attitude towards repurposing, and the beauty of the garden art in this post to be so inspiring! Thanks for making my day!

  12. Hi Emmon, just checked out your site and I’ll be visiting much more. Thanks for including my take on garden art and recycling.

  13. Thanks muchly for including us in this list of Wind Chimes from recycled materials.

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