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Originally published August 1, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 1, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Plant Talk

Recycling plastic pots

Q: Is there a place to recycle plastic pots in Seattle? A: According to the knowledgeable folks at Miller Horticultural Library at the University...

Special to The Seattle Times

Q: Is there a place to recycle plastic pots in Seattle?

A: According to the knowledgeable folks at Miller Horticultural Library at the University of Washington, Flower World in Maltby accepts plastic pots for recycling from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call for directions: 425-481-7565 or 360-668-9575.

The Magnolia Garden Center, 3213 W. Smith St., Seattle, is inviting people to bring empty pots for recycling (1 gallon or larger) Aug. 11 and 12. Call for more details: 206-284-1161.

Q: I have a small perennial garden that was started about 11 years ago but is now quite out of control — overgrown with low-growing strawberries, blue star creeper, yarrow, etc. Some of my focus plants are long gone, and others need to be relocated. Can you recommend someone who could take on a small "redo" for me? I'm feeling quite overwhelmed! My home is on Mercer Island.

A: Most gardeners reach this point sooner or later, usually about seven years into a garden. It's easy to feel like a brilliant gardener the first few years, but our mistakes catch up to us as our garden grows. So be comforted that you're not alone. That said, I'm unable to recommend a designer or gardener, because you need the right person for your garden, your needs and budget. PlantAmnesty's referral line (206-783-9813) can put you in touch with qualified people who fit your requirements. I've had very good feedback from people who have used this service.

Q: I have two questions about garden paths. My designer recommends paths much wider than I like. What do you suggest for path width? Also, some of the paths are gravel and others will be pavers, but I don't like the transition between the two.

A: Path width depends on use. Major paths that lead to the front door or need to accommodate a wheelbarrow should be wider than less-traveled paths in more remote parts of the garden. The general rule of thumb is that paths should be wide enough so that two people can walk comfortably side-by-side.

When the paths first go in, they look like a superhighway, but remember that soon enough plants will grow up to soften the edges and encroach on the pathway. Usually the side-by-side rule results in a very comfortable width. Wheelbarrows require 3 feet for passage.

You can ease the transition between gravel pathways and stepping-stones by setting some of the stepping-stones into the gravel. Begin farthest from the solid path with a random few stepping-stones, becoming more regular, with a couple of stones set side by side to dominate the gravel, then easing out the gravel into a path that's solid stone. This bleeding of the stepping-stones into the gravel prevents the abrupt feeling of a line drawn between the two materials.

Valerie Easton also writes about Plant Life in Sunday's Pacific Northwest Magazine. Write to her at P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111 or e-mail planttalk@seattletimes.com with your questions. Sorry, no personal replies.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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