The nursery business in Third World countries bears little resemblance to that of our upscale high tech plant producers. Money is tight. You make do with what you have. And growers there have recycled containers that to me were among the most charming ideas I’ve seen in many moons.
Recycled aluminum cans make a great impromptu gift, ecological fund raising item or project for kids.
Rather than recycling for the aluminum, these rust resistant cans are used to create brightly colored plant pots. The cans are cut in half with tin snips. With the tops down, its opening becomes a perfect drainage hole lined with a bit of moss to hold the soil inside. Then it’s filled and topped with beautiful small plants.
These little cans are all over Xochemilco, which in the Aztec language Nahuatl it means “place of the flowers”. What I went to see was not the famous canals and Aztec chinampa farms outside Mexico City, but the flower and plant markets for the local nursery industry.
Canned milk, a Mexican staple provides plenty of cans for succulents.
In the small family run plant stalls swap meet style are tarp roof poles used to support tin cans filled with dangling succulents. With the labels left on, the patterns of rust and the decomposing paper are quite charming. It’s a great idea for spicing up fence and gate posts, standards for bird houses and weather vanes.
Small hooks are screwed into the post, then wire handles are attached to the cans. This allows the nurseryman to sell the individual cans as take-aways with these rosary bead vines.
In Mexico, necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Truly these are both charming and innovative ways to recycle and reuse. So take heed and be inspired all you financially challenged gardeners.