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At Dandelion Ranch, plants get plenty of mileage out of recycled tires

May 26, 2011 |  6:34 am

Dandelion2
Clover Chadwick, the designer behind the Los Angeles flower shop Dandelion Ranch, is known for unorthodox arrangements using recycled containers such as vintage artillery boxes, even Campbell's soup cans.

Brx-0518-cover-shot-3Colin Stutz's story in Brand X's summer gardening issue included a look at how Chadwick turned box springs into a vertical garden wall and repurposed an air-conditioning duct into a planter. Annoyed by the trash in her neighborhood, Chadwick created a "tire garden" outside her Jefferson Boulevard workshop, above. The photo prompted me to find out more about the arrangement and how she put it together.

Chadwick said her inspiration comes from not having a yard.

"I came from Napa, where I had a garden, to this urban concrete jungle," she said. She didn't have any place to dig, so she took tires that she found on the street, stacked them outside her shop and planted them.

Before trying it yourself, Chadwick has some suggestions:

For hanging tire planters, drill drainage holes in the rubber.

For stacked planters, vary the height of the planters. She lined the bottom with chicken wire and moss, then packed in dirt. (Amended dirt from your yard or potting soil is fine.) Be sure to fill the sides of the tires completely or the plants will sink when you water.

"Try not to be too rigid," she said. "Plant things that will spill out." Give roots enough space. For the medium and tall stacks, she plants tall grasses, hedge shrubs, trees, vines and lavender. For shorter planters, Chadwick goes with small grasses, herbs and strawberries (though gardeners worried about the leaching of contaminants might avoid edibles altogether).

The result is amusing and pretty, and she says the plants are thriving.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credits: Tim Berger / Brand X

RELATED:  

Growing food and recycling trash into garden tools

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