Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.
Last weekend, the weekend of Mother’s Day, I gardened under blue skies and warm sunshine. I planted most of the flowers in the front garden—snapdragons, petunias, vinca, marigolds, and indigo salvia. Last year I did the same thing. Then the local rabbits then feasted on the tender seedlings. Fat and happy, the entire Cottontail family flaunted their white tails at me and my dogs. HMPH. And my front garden was much too bare when those flowers should have bloomed.
My mother and grandmother taught me to garden. They both fashioned cloches from milk cartons which dotted their gardens. Neither one of them would have ever considered spending hard-earned money on a real cloche!
The first cloche I saw was Grandma’s made out of a milk carton. At that time milk cartons were made of card stock covered in wax. Grandma cut off the top and the bottom, then used the middle to protect her plants. Mom did the same thing. When plastic milk jugs hit the grocery store, those were even better. They cut off the bottom. Those were ideal—just the right size and with a pre-existing vent in the top.
So guess who follows this tradition? Each year I hoard my plastic jugs, cut off the bottoms, and protect my plants under the milk jug cloches. In the past I have only used this for vegetables. But I am weary of losing my flowers to these rabbits. So this year my front garden is sprouting milk jug cloches.
Our neighbors stop by and ask us, “What’s with the milk jugs? Why do you do that?” Then I explain the concept of a cloche and not spending the money on the real thing and thinking about Grandma when I garden. And I feel connected to all those gardeners from generations past.
In a few weeks I will string all those milk jugs together, store them under the deck, and re-use them in the next season. I will enjoy spoiling those rabbits’ snacks. Then when the flowers bloom, I will think about Grandma again, and how we used to tease her about saving money with the milk carton cloches. I also teased her about being a living yard butt. She used to position herself bottom-side up in her flower garden, pulling weeds, loosening soil, and babying her flowers. I smile as I think of that scene. Then I bend over and pull a weed, my rear end high in the air, carrying on another great family gardening tradition.
What do you re-use around the house?