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Got a run in your pantyhose? Don’t throw them out! Repurpose worn nylons by turning them into eco-friendly plant supports.
“Pantyhose make strong, flexible plant ties,” says Pandora Young, Senior Gardener. “Flesh-toned hose even blend in with most plants’ stem color.”
String can wear through or can exert too much pressure on a single point of a plant, causing stems to break if the supported weight becomes too great. Pantyhose, on the other hand, have more elasticity and are better able to spread this load without damaging the plant.
To make the ties, cut strips approximately one inch wide across the legs. A single layer is enough to support most plants.
“Pantyhose are my favored material for securing small trees and tomatoes to stakes,” Young says, “as well as tying vines to trellis supports.”
Young has additional suggestions for putting those old stockings to work. “Since good air circulation is critical when storing bulbs, fill the legs of pantyhose with bulbs and hang them in a dry place.
“Pantyhose can also deter insects,” she adds. “Stretch them over developing melons and squash as a chemical-free way to prevent pest damage.”
With so many great ways to use nylon mesh in the garden, maybe they should call it “plantyhose!”
For more tips on creating and maintaining an eco-friendly garden, visit http://www.longwoodgardens.org/docs/educationalresources/ecogardening.pdf.
Longwood Gardens takes its commitment to ecologically sound practices seriously when it comes to paper and ink. “Recently we’ve decided to use only FSC-certified printers,” says Deborah Webb, Graphic Designer. “That stands for `Forest Stewardship Council,’ which is an organization that is committed to sustainable forestry practices. The initiative was set up so that everyone who manufactures paper or prints on it takes responsibility for those actions. It’s a chain of custody. Printers have to apply for this certification and make the commitment to sustainability. It’s a big step for them. When a printer calls me and wants to bid on a project, the first thing I say is that they have to be FSC certified.”
It’s all about balance. Sustainability, cost, image, and marketing have to be considered when deciding how—or even whether—to print a document for distribution. “When we do need a printed piece, we are moving toward a higher and higher recycled content and uncoated paper, with ecologically friendly ink,” explains Webb. “At the same time, we have to make sure that the way the print appears on the paper meets our standards and that the project is not too expensive.
“Recycled paper is critical, especially for a multi-page document,” she adds. “For example, if you look at the mailing panel side of our recent Continuing Education catalog, you’ll see the number of trees that were saved by using recycled paper. Sustainable practices result in a big environmental savings for a project like that. It was even produced with wind power!”
Paper isn’t the only resource; Longwood also has to “think ink,” and that’s where soy comes into the picture. In contrast to petroleum-based products, soy-based ink is gentler to the environment. It can be used for clear, bright colors. It’s also easier to remove from paper than other inks, thereby facilitating the recycling process.
In some cases, Longwood has replaced printed pieces with electronic communications (like this newsletter). “Before we print something, we think about whether that’s really necessary,” Webb says. “With so many people having access to the web, we can reach a large audience that way. We’ve definitely cut down on our printing.”
Longwood is also conscious of what takes place on the other end of electronic communications. Formatting email to be legible when printed in black and white instead of color, choosing a font because it uses less ink when printed than another typeface, and asking the recipients to consider if they even need to print the document are ways in which Longwood’s positive influence extends to the wider community.
For more information about the Forest Stewardship Council of the United States, visit http://www.fscus.org/.
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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