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Garden Art Contest Raises Recycling to a New Level

Don Hardy with his 1st prize winning sun-catcher replica of the sailboat Spirit of South Carolina.

It was a first and it was a great success.

The Hillsborough County Solid Waste Management Department, in conjunction with the Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension, City of Tampa Recycling Program and the Hillsborough County Fair, sponsored the Recycled Yard Art Contest held at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in November.

Prize money was provided by Consolidated Resource Recovery, Inc. (CRR). This event was open to all county residents and all age groups. Entries were created mostly with recycled or recyclable materials and had to withstand the elements for outdoor display.

A panel of judges awarded the following:

First place and $100 went to Don Hardy of Tampa for his replica of the Spirit of South Carolina sailboat with sails made from a blue bottle and soldered with copper. "This has been my hobby and since 1994 has become a small business," he says. He is a stained glass artist and specializes in these small sun-catchers that he creates from photos of people's actual sailboats or of boat they have known. "It is all about memories," he says. What makes his work stand out is the curved glass of the sails, giving the look of being close-hauled and underway. His work can be seen on his website: www.shipsofglassinc.com

Second place and $75 went to Pamela Cleveland of Brandon for her birdbath made from old dishes and flower pots. Her creativity has come from necessity. She and her husband Grover raised four children out in the country in New York, tapped their maple trees, raised goats and hogs. "I've always been on a budget," she says.

In their Florida garden they had only sand under a maple and considered sod, but wisely decided on ground covers. She and her husband have built an arbor and have a parsons's bench that was her father's in their garden. When a neighbor moved they asked if they could buy her birdbaths, but the woman had other plans for those.

Pamela Cleveland made this bird bath from used pots, old dishes and glue.

So Cleveland gathered together some decorative pots and old dishes and made her own birdbath.

"I found all sorts of pots all grown over with weeds in a field near Plant City," she says.

"And now I watch for others at the Good Will. The pot with the green stripes was a gift vase for a bouquet from my brother to my mother. I didn't even have to paint these. All I used was glue." She was especially happy when her husband said, "You've made something that others can make." Already she has an idea growing for next year's contest.

Bob Dickey has been making yard art from recycled material for years. He entered an airplane and a duck made from a handleless shovel. He thought the airplane was the better of the two but the judges awarded him a third place tie and $50 for the duck and it was also chosen as the People's Choice for which he received another $100.

"All of my friends who called about it said I could take them out to dinner, but I told them I had already spent the money before they called," he said. Also, "I can look at a shovel and see something there. I made a turtle for my granddaughter, and I have a hawk here and a skimmer bird and an elephant's head." He was full of praise for the other winners.

The other third place winner was Betty Jo Tompkins and the Brandon South Rotary for their large Christmas wreath made on a bicycle wheel frame. The tire is painted red and makes a striking bow on top. Newspaper sleeves that never looked so good before serve as foliage and bracks cut from Coca-Cola cans form poinsettias.

All winning entries are one display in the lobby of the Extension Service office, 5339 SR 579 in Seffner until at least the end of the year. Treat yourself to a stop there during weekday working hours and be sure to walk through the Discovery Garden in the courtyard while you are there. It just gets better and better.

There will be another contest next year, so start your creative juices flowing.


Above: Betty Jo Tompkins and the Brandon South Rotary won a third prize tie with this wreath made on an old bicycle tire rim with the tire itself making the bow.

Right: Bob Dickey with his duck made from a handleless shovel. It was tied for third place and also took the award for People's Choice.