Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Piggy-back, EcoForms, and Corn-based Plastics

Piggy-back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)

Also known as Youth-On-Age and Thousand Mothers, this specimen in the photo originates from the variety found on the Oregon Coast. I have another from near Forest Park here in Portland which appears to be lighter in color with pointier more maple-leaf shaped leaves. This pacific northwest native plant is one of few that does alright indoors as a houseplant.

Since collecting a single leaf, I have propagated several more by sitting a leaf with a new shoot into a saucer of water for a few weeks before potting it up. My plan is to grow serveral more and use them below the rhodies along with the ferns, ginger, oxalis, bunchberry, trillium and other natives we are growing in the yard. That's what this one in the photo reminds me of...my wild ginger with its heart shaped leaves.

This one in the photo is growing in my first EcoForms planter which is made from grain husks and natural binding agents. I found this pot and saucer during a recent trip to Portland Nursery and I was happily surprised by how inexpensive they are; comparable to most clay pots. My African Violets will like these the next time I need to repot.

It's nice to see an environmentally friendly alternative to cheap plastic and sometimes ugly clay pots. Their designs are also very modern, so I'll be checking these out the next time I need to purchase some new planters.

Somewhat related, I heard that the corn-based plastics now available may not degrade as easily as advertised. Still, anything that will degrade period, and far more easily than petrolium-based products, is a step in the right direction.