Saturday, July 14, 2007

Courting Controversy...Well, Just a Little

I've been on an incredible Syd Barrett music binge lately...not sure why. The founding member of Pink Floyd died a little over a year ago at the age of 60.

Before a combination of drugs, psychosis and other illnesses took their toll, Syd Barrett was an accomplished painter and innovative musician. He was also something of a babe.

Syd still painted in his later, reclusive years. Turns out he enjoyed gardening too. (There are reports that Syd briefly held a job as a landscaper for an English estate. Apparently, a sudden thunderstorm caused him to throw down his tools, stomp off in a huff and never return. Buddy, I can relate to that feeling.)

When Syd Barrett's remaining belongings were auctioned off in the U.K. late last year, this hand-painted metal wheelbarrow was among them.

Were I rich and frivolous, I probably would have bid on it. There's something about the jaunty green body and red wheel that carries the same childlike but melancholy whimsy many of Syd's songs once did.

Like many organic gardeners, when I saw RubberStuff® - the rubber mulch made from scrap tires - I automatically raised an eyebrow.

Last week, I bought two bags of it. Now, allow me to explain.

I am fortunate to have a beautiful atrium/sunroom in my house. Palms and dracaenas stretch 15 feet into the air. I overwinter my tropicals in the sunroom too.

Thing is, the plants come up right out of the ground; the border around the tiled floor is pure soil. I rarely have to water these plants (especially lately). However, the organic mulch I had was presenting a problem.

As organic materials are supposed to do, the mulch was breaking down. It was also holding in a lot of moisture, as it supposed to...but with that came some really moldy and musty smells.

For outside, that's fine. You want the organic breakdown to occur. But for my indoor sunroom, I found that rubber mulch was just the ticket.

The manufacturer - American Rubber Technologies (ART) - claims RubberStuff is non-toxic and 99% wire-free. It doesn't smell and it looks great. And if I ever need to remove it, I imagine the job will be a heckuva lot easier than it was to scrape off the old moldy bark mulch. Yuck.

We'll see how things go. If all of my plants die, you'll hear about it...and so will ART.

Does anyone know if Raid has discontinued its Earth Options product line? I don't see any of them on their Web site anymore.

The products were supposed to be "plant-based" i.e. derived from clove oil. I was, and still remain, skeptical.

Two things I did come across on the Raid site which I found completely disgusting: the use of the phrase "Family of Products" - as in, gosh, we're family-friendly!

Even more appalling: The "Raid® Fun" page. Games and wallpapers for the kids to enjoy while Dad's busy poisoning the environment. Woo-hoo!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I hadn't realized that Syd was so good-looking when he was younger... nice picture.

I am still shaking my head at the "Raid Fun" page. I have lots of thoughts about this, but am frankly so flabbergasted that they're not translating well into words. Grr.