christinmk z5b eastern WAMay 1, 2014 in actual stumps, lol.

I was enjoying weeding/the sunshine the other day when I noticed the large stump ("ornamental") had a huge crack down the side. There were carpenter ants going in the side and dropping flakes of sawdust over the edge.

Not being one to pass up the opportunity to channel my inner Curious George I went over and examined with my weed picker.

CRACK! It split some more. Then I might have helped it a bit more...One thing led to another and I ended up with to halves of the same stump ;-)

I remember seeing an article years ago in a magazine about making a "nurse log"...though I suppose that is a fancy way of saying stump planter since we're not in the forest here, lol.

So I hollowed out the stumps...

And put them out in the front shade garden along the foundation. It is so sandy and dry there that nothing will grow. The neighborhood cats try and plant little "presents" there though. LOL.

I'm thinking I may try and plant something in them. Not sure what I will do at the ends to keep the soil in (any ideas?). Not sure if mini hostas will work or if I would be better to stick with creepers.

Guess one mans stump is another mans planter ;-D

Anybody else have avant-garde garden ideas that panned out pretty well? Any tales of repurposing or recycling in your garden?

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I would be fascinated also, and then I would be worried about the carpenter ants. I don't like seeing them in my yard because it means there might be some that would like to live around my house.

But other than that, yes, ants that chew through wood is very interesting, and your 2 halves of the log would definitely make a good design piece in a flower or leafy garden.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:14PM
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I would not keep an infested stump so close to the house.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:24PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

I do the same with various stumps, branches etc that come my way. I don't use them as planters, but as accent pieces in the garden they can be interesting. In particular, I like the way they age over the years. You can get moss, mushrooms, seedlings of various plants - whatever. Eventually they just rot away and become a part of the garden. Nice way to recycle.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:39PM
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christinmk - hmmn, you've got me wondering. A fairly large dead limb fell from the neighbor's tree onto my full shade bed over the winter. Earlier in the snow-melt season I just pushed the pieces off the cement walkway with my foot. Now I'm thinking about ways to put them to use.

Anybody else have avant-garde garden ideas that panned out pretty well? Any tales of repurposing or recycling in your garden?

My son and I used to go kayaking. One day he paddled with his wife & some friends out to the Thimble Islands in Long Island Sound and found a rope (flotsam) among some rocks near a wildlife sanctuary. He managed to stuff the rope into the nose of his kayak for the return trip to shore (a full mile paddle), however there was no longer room in the nose of his kayak for his legs and feet. Got the picture in your head?

His wife objected to the rope inhabiting her car for the return trip home but, by now, I'm sure you're certain he somehow managed to persuade her.

Yep, the rope was a gift for me.

Cleat w/rope on left

He'd gifted me with what I dubbed the Somers Cleat a year or two prior to bringing me the rope. He arrived with it in the trunk of his car. When he opened it, I blurted, "It's a CLEAT!!!

His response: "I knew you'd know what it is!!"

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 6:47PM
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michey1st_gw Zone 7

I keep intact tree stumps around for the resident woodpeckers. We have a Pileated and a Flicker that like to snack on them (ie, DESTROY). At the rate they are going, I won't ever have to get a stump grounded, lol.

My friend covered one of her stumps with various sedums -- VERY COOL. I may do that, if the woodpeckers let me.

Last fall, we cut down an ailing tree and found a HUGE HOLE in the trunk. The guys cut it in a neat section so I have a 2 foot thick stump with a nice, hollow hole halfway through. You can bet that is turning into a "pot" of sorts ;-)

To keep the soil in, perhaps you can staple some window screen over the sides? That's what I plan on doing with one of my stumps that will be prominently centered in the middle of a bed. I want to fill it with something trailing or big and poofy like petunias.

And thus, my to-do list grows and grows...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:43PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

While cleaning up the property where our nursery used to be located, we saved various long-buried items that were uncovered. I requested two heavy items to be hauled home for repurposing, because I had plans for them!

The first item is an old pier winch. We may have used it at the nursery to lift up the well pump, but that was a long time ago, so I'm not sure. Anyway, it is now our hose pulley. I am lazy about rolling up garden hoses--when using them several times per day, it is a lot of wasted time to roll them up after each use. I just don't do it between uses. But a compromise was for me to drop the entire length of the hose over the retaining wall, out of sight--that I would take the time to do. But pulling the hose over the wall's edge would wear out the hose eventually. The winch provided a perfect solution--smooth enough to not wear, and with side guards to keep it within the track. Besides, I think it looks interesting. Set too recently to be backfilled and planted around yet, but that is on my to-do list.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 1:16AM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

The second item I brought home is what I kiddingly refer to as my metal caterpillar. :) It didn't start out with an intended use beyond looking interesting, and maybe being positioned into a caterpillar form, or two (it is actually in two pieces now). It's current job is to hide the drip tubing running along the wall.

Anyone want to guess what job it performed before retirement? :)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 1:35AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Wow, Gyr Falcon, that second piece is very intriguing! I can't for the life of me figure out what it was!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Chain off a trencher? (Hubby just walked in here and said he knew...)
People around here like old wooden wagons, or old hand plows, or really old cars........
And what do you do for a living...that you came across this? Dive to the bottom of the sea? Just kidding. There are a lot of strip mine lakes around here and "they say" that some of the equipment had to stay at the bottom of the mines cuz they just couldn't/wouldn't move them. I'd love to scuba and find out for sure....... Fat chance, tho.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:59PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-Errant and gardenper, I did make sure there were no ants on it before placing them there...but you make a good point! I'm not planting them up right away, so I may rethink it if I notice more ants in the meantime.

-gardenweed, I think that rope is awesome! Love nautical influences in the garden. My uncle and his wife live on the WA peninsula and do a lot of such things...also with driftwood and shells grouped in garden beds.

-Gry_Falcon, nice saves/repurposing!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:12PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Yep, that is a trencher chain! I don't think we owned a large trencher at the nursery/landscape business. It must have been from when my husband worked with a tree farm, and they replaced their trencher's chain. (I was busy raising a baby then, so we had moved away from self employment). It was probably sitting in the field for 25 years.

I have always liked adding root knots and twisted branches into my landscape. Acorn woodpecker storage graineries and nest holes were also something I have long wished we could import for the local Nuttall's woodpeckers. Unfortunately, I don't have a source near our home and I cannot safely transport that type of stuff from the nursery land in another county, because the oaks died from a disease/beetle infestation that could be spread. :(

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 3:13AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-michey1st, forgot to reply to you earlier....BRILLIANT! I have some chicken wire hanging around here somewhere- might give that a try. Thanks ;-)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:16PM
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