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Reduce, reuse, replant, and relax

Gardening can be hard on the conscience. At some point in a garden's life, you've got to get rid of some perfectly good plants because they've outgrown their digs.

That's where Recycled Gardens comes in. You dig up the stuff you've got too much of and take it to Recycled Gardens in Hillsboro, and they resell it at garage-sale prices.

Here's the best part: The money is used to spay and neuter pets. Thus, you get rid of plants you can't bear to throw away, those plants go to a good home and Oregon's pet population benefits, all at the same time.

Recycled Gardens is the fund-raising division of POPPA Inc. That's short for Pet Over-Population Prevention Advocates. The organization is a nonprofit group working to reduce the number of homeless animals in Oregon. The program pays a vet to do surgeries to prevent litters of abandoned dogs and cats. In less than two years, 587 cats, 63 dogs and 10 rabbits have been 'fixed' with plant-sale money.

Keni Cyr-Rumble came up with the idea to convert the old barn into a garden center people could visit on a regular basis.

Cyr-Rumble says, 'This is a great place to come if you're a new homeowner' and need more plants than you can afford.

There's no searching for a price on anything; it's a flat rate. Everything in gallon pots is $3.50, and plants in 5-gallon pots sell for $17.50. Deals are made on larger items.

There's another feature you might be interested in. For a $5 donation, you can bring in all the 1-gallon or larger nursery plastic pots you have left over instead of putting them in the garbage. Recycled Gardens uses the pots for replanting or donates them to a company for recycling.

On a recent day, June Yamrick of Hillsboro has a check in one hand and old plastic pots in another.

'I believe in animal causes, and it's all interrelated here because we're gardening and helping nature at the same time,' she says.

Yamrick, who also volunteers at the nursery, can't help buying plants here. The huge, 6-foot rhododendron in her back yard came from Recycled Gardens.

Although there's no cost to give your old plants away, Cyr-Rumble makes a plea to drop them by when the nursery is open. It does no good when people abandon plants like so many strays on the doorstep.

'I've found abandoned plants at the end of the driveway three days after they've been dumped, and they're dead,' she says.

Gardens run in cycles; it's said that the 'first year (the garden) sleeps, second year creeps and third year leaps.' Now, what's left over can 'sprint' over to Recycled Gardens instead of becoming compost. The pet organization has come up with a novel approach, wouldn't you say?

No matter how you look at it, Recycled Gardens might be the closest thing there is to guilt-free gardening.

'Anne Jaeger's Gardening Tips' appear on KGW (8). Contact Anne Jaeger through her Web site, www.gardengal.tv.