Colorful mulch alternative

Group hunting for glass at glass beach
Glass hunters

About 5 years ago I got a chance to visit Glass Beach and try my hand at hunting for different colored glass.

Glass Beach is one of the most unique beaches in the world, not because nature created it that way, but because time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man’s mistakes.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. It is hard to believe these days, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean.

Glass closeup

Now, over 30 years later, Mother Nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding wave action have deposited tons of polished glass onto the beach. Every day people come to hunt what old bits of treasure wash to shore. You’ll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you’ll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun.

I came home with several bags full but after gathering all these bags of different colored glass the question remained as what do I do with this pretty but unusable stuff???

a colorful selection (click above to enlarge)

So in storage for 5 years it sat until I had an idea for a use today. My little old lady cactus was getting a bunch of weeds around her. I was going to put some boring old bark around her when I remembered the white colored glass I had collected from Glass beach. The old lady cactus has such a soft blueish white appearance to her that I thought the colored glass would look so nice around her base. To add a little interest I added some blue glass pebbles from my fish tank.

Currently this cactus is not in bloom but it has reddish pink flowers that grow in a crown long the top. I think the blue will set this off nicely.

I almost put some of my clear glass pebble but soon realized it magnifies the suns rays and could burn the plant. The glass from glass beach is tumbled though so it’s almost opaque with a natural etching from the tumbling process on the beach.

So there is my gardening tip. You don’t have to stick to just what the garden store sells. Recycle even if it’s many many years later!!

Below are three pictures of the cactus outside in my garden and then a couple more where I brought the cactus into my studio and played with the side lighting a little…

Sitting outside in direct sunlight
Studio light
Side lighting

5 thoughts on “Colorful mulch alternative

  • July 31, 2011 at 11:20 pm
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    The middle one with all the blue is my favorite!

  • August 1, 2011 at 4:08 am
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    I prefer the first one, neat idea with the glass,

  • August 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm
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    I think I find the middle shot most intruguing too. Great idea, and great story, Eloine. Paul and I have been to glass beach. 🙂

  • August 2, 2011 at 4:55 am
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    A very nice story about the beach, and your use of the treasure you found. 🙂

  • August 27, 2011 at 11:44 am
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    Such a great idea ! I love “Studio light” photo the best.

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