New lease on life

Use natural materials for planters. (photo by Will Dendis)

Use natural materials for planters. (photo by Will Dendis)

When recent hurricanes devastated the area, many homes and ecosystems were left permanently altered. Some residents saw opportunities in the aftermath to re-purpose something discarded.

When disaster strikes, don’t panic! Instead, use these creative tricks to recycle something beautiful and practical in your garden this season.

Natural objects make great planters

Any hollow object, with drainage holes, could be a planter. Natural materials blend seamlessly into garden-scapes and make eco-friendly homes for plants, as opposed to synthetic materials that may be toxic to the environment.


In the wake of Hurricane Irene, Partition Street residents Deborah Peterson and Thomas Dunn happened upon a piece of hollowed out driftwood on the Saugerties Lighthouse trail. They immediately recognized its unique shape was ideal for their backyard garden, and they soon found many herbs and flowers with which to fill it.

They’ve used their driftwood planter for two seasons now, and are glad they chose to pick up their unique memento instead of leaving it behind on the shore. “It’s the perfect size and shape for a planter, and looks great in our backyard,” said Peterson. “Plus, it’s nice to come out here to pick something fresh to spruce up a salad, and also have these lovely flowers to look at.”

Build something new

A lot can be done in the garden with discarded wood, bricks and metal – sturdy materials that can weather harsh outdoor conditions and also gently cradle new life blossoming within a garden’s confines.

John Livermore, resident of Lighthouse Drive and proprietor of the Stone Pony Deli, discovered that wood beams from his mother Stella Livermore’s home (also on Lighthouse Drive) could be re-purposed after that house was damaged by hurricane flooding.