NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Steve Wyrick's yard in southeastern Virginia is all about nurturing nature and animals. He gardens for wildlife and repurposes and recycles everything possible.
Nothing is wasted.
Decorative, colorful tiles from his father's former pool business embellish clay pots. Shells from a backyard pecan tree are used as garden compost. Seeds and clippings are germinated and rooted into new plants. A newly painted rabbit hutch was rescued when it was discarded at the curb, and handles from broken tools are perches in his chicken run.
A Facebook page called Peninsula PlantCycle helps him accomplish much of it. His favorite finds on the site are strawberry begonia, a part-shade ground cover that produces spikes of white flowers, and Black Magic elephant ear, a tropical plant that thrives in the pond he crafted from leftover pool materials.
"For me, PlantCycle is all about simplistic living, nature, anti-consumerism and active environmentalism," says the Poquoson, Va., gardener
"We exchange information, answer each others' questions and talk about how to deal with various pests. It's both a community and a lifestyle."
Beverly Tidwell, a gardener in Newport News, Va., started the Facebook group when the Yahoo group PlantCycle.org shut down for unknown reasons. "I absolutely loved the concept," she says.
"After a few months of seeing no posts, I chatted with Steve and we agreed we needed to fill the gap. You post a picture or a description of what you have or want and people comment to let you know if they have it or want it.
"Peninsula PlantCycle friends are like me — they have a passion for gardening. The free advice you get is great — advice like: is this a good cocoon or a bad one? Is this a good or bad bug? I also like being able to give away plants so I'm sharing and also making room for other plants."
Barbara Bahr is a PlantCycle fan, using the Facebook page to find free and unwanted stuff she can use in her 1.6-acre garden.
"For the past 12 years, I've worked hard on my yard," she says.
"I've planted many flowers and islands and dug many ponds in those years. I reuse and recycle materials. One item that stands out in my mind is a recycled hot tub that I saved from going to the landfill. It was made into a koi pond. Beverly and I have exchanged pond plants many times.
"PlantCycle is a fun way to make new friends and at the same time you can share ideas for your yard and gardens. It's like Pinterest on a smaller scale. We all share the same passion with planting and making our yards a beautiful showcase for ourselves and our neighborhood."
Now, Tidwell's goal is to replace the Yahoo PlantCycle.org with a new, improved and functional website her husband, Andrew, designed and launched at http:peninsulaplantcycle.webs.com. The Facebook version will continue to be its social media partner.