We've all used the normal containers for plants. Half barrels, window boxes, etc. Don't stop there, anything that can hold soil can be a planter.
I have always loved having driftwood in my gardens, it helps create a more natural feel to the beds. We were walking in the woods one day and there was this beautiful, hollow log. It was up on some rocks so it wasn't half rotted like old logs can be. Hubby and I hauled it home. We placed it in the garden and decided to stop for a well-deserved coffee break. Later I wandered out to take another look at it and discovered Mom had taken advantage of the hollowness and planted a few plants. Interesting. We had placed it in semi-shade so she had planted a few shade loving vines. Stingless nettles, Periwinkle. I have to mention that the beautiful photo on the right is not my hollow log, it belongs to DG member pirl and is a beautiful example of what can be accomplished.
I've had an antique bathtub hanging around for years. It has had an interesting life so far. There have been fish kept in it for awhile until we got the pond finished. We have even filled it with cold well water one really hot summer and used it as a "poor mans" pool. It was very refreshing, submerging oneself in the ice cold water long enough to cool down. I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out.
Then, one day it hit me. The light bulb went off. This thing is deep enough to hold soil and have things growing in it!! Why not? It had a drain so water could escape if it rained too hard. It was deep enough to not dry out quickly. It would be a perfect planter to use in an area of the yard that was unsuitable for a garden yet needed some colour. So I filled it with soil and stuck in some annuals, nice bright ones. I knew perennials would not survive our harsh winters planted in there but annuals would be perfect. The photo of the planted tub to the left was generously donated by DG member Candyce. Another excellent example of what can be done with a little imagination and a few plants.
Every gardener has an old wheel barrow hanging around. The well made ones from days gone by last forever. We upgrade to newer, better designed models but don't have the heart to part with the older versions. Too many memories are contained in the well worn wooden handles. They can also be planted. The older, the better, dripping with character. The one pictured in the photo belongs to DG member carrielamont.
Over the years I have used many things to hold plants. A pair of old western boots that once belonged to my Dad. The tubs from old wringer washing machines make excellent planters to contain invasive, yet lovely perennials. Watering troughs, sinks, an old boat(yes, I really did), the only limit being your imagination.
The man up the road cut a tree down one time that was hollow. I asked him if he could cut it into lengths about 2 feet long. I brought them all home, filled the cavities with soil and lined my driveway with natural log planters. Eventually they broke down and rotted, but for a few seasons they were beautiful.
What I'm trying to say is that there are no rules to container gardening. If it will hold soil and you like how it looks, go for it. Sure, the neighbors might shoot you a few strange looks, but who cares? The people that live near me aren't surprised by anything anymore. They have come to appreciate, and I think expect, the unusual things I do in my gardens. The garden is an extension of who we are and adding our own unique touches to them makes them even more our own.
Be sure to visit the Container Gardening forum here at Dave's Garden, you will find friendly folks and oodles of wonderful photos and inspiration.
So, the next time you are cleaning out the garage or shed and come across that old metal tub you used to wash the dog in, stop and consider it as a planter before you haul it to the dump. You may be surprised at the beauty you can create.
About Lee Anne Stark
I am an avid gardener who shares my gardens with 2 other equally avid gardeners. I garden for fun and relaxation, never paying attention to the rules!! During the long, cold winter months I occupy my time playing with over a hundred house plants, my six cats and two dogs.