Wednesday August 14 2013

How to recycle your dead trees

The four O’clock flowering plant (Mirabilis

The four O’clock flowering plant (Mirabilis Jalapa) on a bed decorated with stones  


Trees die. They get old and stop producing fruit, or even leaves. Some get eaten by insects like termites; and because of inadequate nutrients in the soil, may give up the fight. Also, in a garden, not all trees will grow to health. It is normal for some to die.

Mr and Mrs Arinaitwe (not real names) of Kansanga, together with Justine Nabwami, a Compound Designer with Jowy Creations came up with an ingenious way of recycling a dead tree in the Arinaitwes’ garden.

“They had a guava tree that had grown old and the fruits were getting rotten. We never wanted to remove the whole tree, so we decided to trim its branches. We cut off its main branches and a few remained. Then we came up with the idea of decorating the few remaining branches,” Nabwami says.

To decorate the tree, they decided to have hanging baskets, planted with flowering and wandering plants upon the different branches. In the hanging baskets, they planted Four O’clocks (Mirabilis Jalapa), Ornamental Verbennas (Verbena Officianalis), Sansevierias and Kalanchoes, among other flowering and wandering plant varieties and succulents.

“We got the baskets, made from small wires, from downtown at Shs 5000. Then we put polythene in the netted wire baskets. We then filled them with good soil and planted them,” Nabwami explains.

Make small holes in the polythene before lining the basket, so that it is not water-logged, otherwise the plants will die. Add some manure in the soil, depending on the size of the container. On average, Nabwami says, she adds four to five spoons of manure.

“We normally buy the manure from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation around Buglobi. We buy it in 20Kg bags at Shs5000 each,” she reveals.

Get the seedlings from the Mukwano Tree Planting Association, a collection of nurseries along Mukwano Road in Nsambya. “On average, we bought the seedlings at between Shs4000 to Shs 6000. During the dry seasons, water them in the mornings and in the evenings. Don’t water them during the rainy season,” Nabwami advises.

The Arinaitwes love the idea of the hanging baskets around the trimmed tree. Their visitors also admire it, but Mrs Arinaitwe in particular, adores it

Alternatives for pots and how to control weeds in your garden.

1. If you already have seeds or seedlings but are postponing planting because you are waiting to buy stylish clay or plastic pots, take a leaf from Sophie Alal, a Writer who lives in Kisaasi.
“This is an old suitcase. I travel a lot and when I realised that the suitcase was no longer strong enough, I decided to convert it into a planter,” she explains.
You don’t have to discard old saucepans either.
“This used to be an old saucepan. But because the bottom was burnt, I decided to put a hole in it, fill it with soil and plant these Calla Lilies. The flowers have just withered,” she adds.
2. Are you weary of constant weeding?
Justine Nabwami, a compound designer with Jowy Creations advises gardeners to adorn the bases of their plants with beautiful stones when the plants mature.
“Not only will this keep weeds at bay, but it will improve the appearance of your beds and retain much needed water,” she says.
A 10-litre bucket of stones costs Shs10,000, while a 20-litre bucket costs Shs20,000 at roadside nurseries in Nsambya and Gaba.