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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To Dumpster Dive or Not to Dumpster Dive, That is the Question.

The other day, I was visiting a nursery and parked around the side and saw this dumpster.  I've parked by this thing a lot of times and never thought about its contents but this time, plants were peeking seductively out of the top. 

I should throw more things away but seldom do.  You'd think I lived through the great depression or something but it kills me to throw things away.  I'd much rather donate them to a charity or give them to someone who would like them.  Anyway the temptation to investigate the dumpster was too great.  Upon opening it I saw some aeoniums and lots of leaves of Fatsia Japonica.  I bet there's a huge fatsia plant under there.

These grasses were looking nice and just needed to have a third plant of something upright planted behind to make a great winter interest container.

I was also sorely tempted by this five gallon pulp container of ivy.  It would be just the thing to cover some exposed rocks on one side of my pond for the winter and unlike other things I've tried there, this could take the deep shade that the trees cast there in the summer. 

I know that the nursery didn't want these any more  but also that technically this is not public property when it's placed in a private dumpster.  I thought of asking at the counter if I could pull a couple things out but felt a little odd doing that as I hadn't purchased anything at the store.  I'm contemplating calling the nursery to see it it's o.k. and if the dumpster has been emptied yet. I'm pretty sure that this sort of thing is frowned upon in certain circles.   What would you do?

33 comments:

  1. Go for it Peter, if you're able to re-home them even if just temporary then why not.Worth asking :)

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  2. Those grasses look to be in great shape, I wonder why on earth they threw them away. It doesn't hurt to ask, and if you don't, you'll never know, which would just drive me nuts, not knowing. I'd leave that ivy where it belongs, however.

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    1. Well, this is a place that doesn't have a lot of plants but the ones they have are exquisite. I'm thinking that these had simply outlived their usefulness.

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  3. Do it! If the plants are in a dumpster aren't they just headed for a landfill or compost pile?

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    1. In that small town there's not a recycling program so it was all going to the landfill!

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  4. Oh my gosh Peter, you had me salivating at "Dumpster." I live to forage! What a great collection of plants. My favorite nursery, Fry Road (east of Albany) has several huge piles of cast-offs just beyond the nursery proper. I'm always, always stealing glances at them, wondering what I might be able to snag and nurture back to glorious. But in your case, the monstrosity is hidden and your car is near. I say open your trunk and just stick your must-haves in there. Close the trunk and do the happy dance. I'm sure no one will even notice or care. And then buy something at this nursery sometime as payback and good karma.

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    1. The plants are in great shape and don't even need bringing back to health. Couldn't just leave them there.

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  5. Wow it kind of shocks me to see plastic containers and plants mixed together in a dumpster. I'm no recycling nazi but really! Both of those things can be recycled as long as they're separated from each other. At least around here they can be.

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    1. That mix was a surprise to me too. In that small town I don't know if they have a recycling program or not but everything was going into this dumpster together.

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  6. DUMPSTER DIVE! DUMPSTER DIVE!! I inherited the most beautiful bougainvillea that way one time.

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  7. I've never found plants in a dumpster, I did get one of my favorite pots from a "tip" in the Uk !

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    1. It seems like a good thing to do, keeping usable things out of the landfills and all.

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  8. I never contemplated Dumpster Diving, or the moral dilemma associated with "Saving" plants from certain demise. And then there is the issue of recycling garden waste brought up by Danger Garden. Peter, you opened up Pandora's Box (or dumpster, in this case). Despite the temptation I wouldn't remove any plants without asking permission first: imagine how you'd feel if you got caught.
    If you are lucky, the dumpster would be emptied by the time you get back there and free your from this misery :-)

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    1. In this instance, everything was headed to the landfill not to recycling or composting. I wouldn't dumpster dive without asking at a business. (An alley is another thing altogether.) I was too embarassed to ask in person but called and was told that it was o.k. to take what I wanted. They were so nice that they offered to pull plants out for me and set them by the side of the dumpster for me to pick up. Anyway, I've got a trunk full of plants.

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    2. Good going! Now I'll wait to see the display you crated with them.

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  9. but the surprise in this container :) I was not expecting.

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    1. One never knows what he or she will find in a dumpster.

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  10. No question about it! I'd GO 4 it.

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    1. Thanks all for your comments and advice. Being too embarrassed to ask in person, I phoned, asked, and was given permission to take the plants. I still felt a little guilty as there are neighbors right across the street who were watching me through their windows. My car now has a trunk full of plants which may just stay there until it warms up a bit.

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  11. Don't feel guilty: feel virtuous. You saved those plants (and all the resources it took to grow them in the first place) from being wasted. It's crazy that society can make us feel embarrassed for being responsible, reusing and recycling. And also feel happy - you got an unexpected gift!

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    1. Thanks Lyn, you're right! I'm no stranger to the dumpster dive but it felt strange to be doing it at a nursery for some reason.

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  12. Dive baby Dive ! My companys garden center usually gives first dibs on the write-offs to employees, after that it's into the dumpster -I think it was a good call to ask for permission. People who are gardeners would rather see plants in a good home right ?

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  13. It was meant to be. You arrived at the right time in the right place to give the plants a 2nd chance at life. (I would have asked too.)

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  14. I approve of dumpster diving, but if you're hesitant, you could ask permission. I'll bet the employees would be glad to think the plants were going on to a second life in your garden!

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  15. My mom always said that stolen plants grow better that legit ones. Dumpster diving used to be major entertainment in my circle of starving artists. Asking for permission takes all the edgy glamour out of it. If you call me from the slammer, I will come bail you out.

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  16. It's great that you had courage to go ahead and call and rescue the plants. The grass reminded me that I bought one and didn't get it planted and it's sitting out on my front porch without being watered for quite a while, so I went out and watered it. I hope it makes it. It's been 15*F here at night.

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  17. I have an almost unlimited supply of dumpster plants that I helped myself to. I've been asked to leave before but I'll just come back when nobody's there and fill my car up completely with plants. I usually run out of room before I run out of plants to take from the dumpster and I can easily do that once a week. Just go for it, no one's going to arrest you for taking a plant from the garbage.

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    1. Good advice! I called and got permission before doing this. It's a small independent place.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.