For The Circus, Assisting Gardeners Is A Dung Deal

Elephant Enterprise

August 29, 1991|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

If your plants are losing their pep in the August heat, the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus coming to town next week has just the answer:

Dung.

Jumbo dung, in particular -- 15 tons of quality manure to make your ailing garden grow. And the fertilizer is free to anyone who findsa way to cart it off, says Chuck Werner, circus marketing director.

The two-hour, three-ring circus coming to Harundale Mall Tuesday is offering area residents a huge supply of mineral-rich fertilizer, generated by the elephants and other beasts.

Mountains of manure accumulate in more than 120 cities where the circus performs -- all ready for eager gardening scavengers.

"We've had ladies from garden clubs show up with their little gloves and bushel baskets and just load up," Werner says.

"Sometimes when we don't even advertise, people come and ask if they can have some; they say, 'It's such good stuff.' "

What makes circus manure high-class is the animals' diets, Werner says. Most manure used by gardeners comes from farm animals thatprimarily eat hay.

Circus elephants have more varied diets, eating foods such as apples, peanuts and loaves of bread in addition to high-protein grain.

Their manure has a higher concentration of calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus and other beneficial minerals. And it contains no chemicals, Werner -- like an eager salesman -- points out.

Interested gardeners can bring their shoe boxes, bushel baskets or pickup trucks to the circus show grounds during daylight hours Sept. 3-4.

"Just look for the elephants," Werner says.

However, he cautions that elephant manure shouldn't be dumped directly on flowers and plants. It needs to be left outside where the sun and rain can weather it.

"After a short time, it becomes odorless compost fit for plant consumption," Werner says.

The manure of other circus animals has additional benefits, the director adds. Gardeners with problems from poaching rabbits and deer might want to pick up some manure from tigers and bears.

"If you spread (tiger or bear manure) at the edges of your garden, it warns off the other animals," Werner explains.

"Apparently enough wild scent remains that they think if they trespass, they might get eaten."

He also recommends "Pachyderm Poo," orthe manure of large animals, as a gift for fellow-gardeners.

"Imagine the joy you'll bring to the horticulturist in your life as a truck delivers a ton of delight. It's a unique way to say 'thanks' when you care enough to give the very best," Werner says.

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