The Garden.

Phytoremediation. That's a big word. I'm probably not pronouncing it right. I'll get there. It only took me a week to say cadmium correctly. Phytoremediation is the term used to describe using plants to clean soil of contaminates. Certain plants suck certain things right out of the ground and help clean up bad patches. It's fairly affordable, low impact, and can be really pretty. Making beautiful out of ugly.

As I find myself learning about phytoremediation I'm really wishing I'd taken those Master Gardner classes I thought about BC (before child).  See that table below (borrowed from HERE), I know just enough to recognize some elements and some root plant names, but not enough to just know what to go get for my yard. So I'm researching.  I've heard and seen some things that say lupine, sunflowers, some types of ferns, and even hydrangea are good at pulling contaminates from soil. So it looks like I'll have a wacky looking garden this year, but it's going to be full of colorful flowers.

Table 1. Phytoremediation processes, mechanisms,
and related pollutants/plant species (Gupta et al, 2000
Now that I think about it, it makes sense. Hydrangeas can change color based on the pH levels in soil. If you want a blue hydrangea you need to add aluminum to the soil. To get a pink hydrangea there must be no aluminum in the soil. Can you guess what color the hydrangeas in my yard are? They are not pink! From what I understand they never will be. It's a little like that experiment we all did as kids with food coloring and carnations. In fact Sugar's class just did that experiment a few weeks ago, right about the time this story broke. They were trapped inside because they were not allowed to play in the contaminated soil, and they needed indoor activities.

It seems like this idea is still kind of new in that it's not all over the Google. I totally thought it would be.  Even digging, I had trouble finding lists of other plants that might work. I'm going to keep working on it. It seems like a good way to do some passive good. Maybe I will just drop seeds all over the place.

Maybe I can be the Miss Rumphius of my neighborhood. Not a bad thing to aspire to.

Ok, my brain hurts from all the science. I leave you with pretty. Because we can still find pretty on dark days.

No comments: