I have been asked to give a talk on container gardening at my church and would
like some ideas from the group. What unusual containers have you used for
planting and how did they work.
Thanks a bunch.
On 02 Apr 2004 01:36:20 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (UTVOLVET84) opined:
I have several. One has trailing verbena 'Homestead' and 'Blue Daddy' petunias
with bacopa. This seems to work well together and after it looks spent, I cut
it all back and in a few weeks, with some fertilization, it is in full beauty
again and again all summer.
I've also used variegated lantana with sweet potato vine 'Blackie' and trailing
verbena 'Blue Princess.' Also does beautifully all summer.
One of the neat things is that there is really no end of possibilities for
'unusual' containers. I personally don't go for things that are too cute
(e.g., old boots, tea pots, and the like, although I'm sure I might like an
individual presentation in the right setting) because they detract from the
plantings, but I do like to look for large containers so that I can cut my
expenses. In the past I've used things like bushel baskets from fruit stands
(line them with plastic that has drainage holes punched through). Thoroughly
cleaned metal cannisters that have contained olives, olive oil or similar can
also be lined and have drain holes added. I've added a subtle verdigris effect
on the outside, and I must say they've looked stunning yet unobtrusive....and
most importantly, they're free and large enough for a pretty good planting.
Dumpster diving can get you some pretty cool things, if you have places nearby
that have interesting garbage.
Old trash bins (even plastic can be disguised with the right kind of paint) can
be ideal if you cut them down. Old-fashioned metal washtubs work well, look
subtle enough. Although it's not unusual, I've seen some pretty cool planting
effects in cinderblocks.
There are so many possibilities.......
nNJ usa z7
On 04 Apr 2004 00:14:12 GMT, email@example.com (Tyra Trevellyn)
Could you detail how you do your verdigris effect? This sounds
promising. Also, what is your experience in what kind of paint
sticks to plastic? I keep trying to come up with something useful AND
attractive to do with empty soda bottles.
Frogleg firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on
Sun, Apr 11, 2004 at 12:58 PM:
I've got to kick my memory a bit, but here's what I'm pretty sure I did to two
large containers I still use:
I took some heavy-duty steel wool (and probably some sandpaper) and rubbed down
the outside of the metal cans, making them as rough as possible. I got some
smallish tubes of oil-based enamel (the kind that one uses to add tints to
oil-based paint) in a turquoise-y color. I squeezed some of the enamel onto a
brush and dabbed it on the outside of the cans, and then rubbed over it with a
paper towel. You do this a few times until you get the effect you want. It's
streaky and they look more like ancient, thoroughly-abused painted containers
than true verdigris, but it's a nice effect. You can use any color, really,
but roughed-up turquoise tends to resemble real verdigris which seems to look
right in gardens.
This is a really what-you-have-around way to do it, but I know that
crafts/paint/art supply shops have lots of products you can buy to create faux
finishes on all kinds of materials.
Plastic containers need to be coated with glue and paper before they'll take
most paints (although I'm sure there are paints compounded to adhere
brilliantly to plastic.....I just never looked for them, 'cause if I can't do
this kind of stuff on the cheap, it's not worth doing!). I soak sheets of
newsprint in artists' sizing and then wrap the paper around the containers
(kind of a papier mache thing, but better for this purpose). After that, you
can use any paint you want, as long as you apply a few coats of waterproof
sealer when the whole thing is dry. These creations last a surprisingly long
time, and don't look half bad when they've started to look tatty. I haven't
tried this on soda bottle plastic....only on the heavy-duty trashbin/dishpan
Quite honestly, while not difficult to do at all, I only go this route when I
need larger containers that would be too expensive to buy in preferred
nNJ usa z7
There have been ads on tv lately for a spray paint that sticks to
plastic, so I think anywhere that sells spray paints .. like a paint
store.. could point you to it. It's made specifically for that job,
so it's not an "also does" kind of product.
Although, I don't think there is anything useful and attractive to be
done with empty soda bottles other than recycling them then they make
stuff out of them ;-) Plus, if you live in a place that charges a
deposit, or close to a state that does, you can take them in and get
MONEY for them ;-) There are lots of plans for hummingbird feeders
people have developed auto water bases that screw onto the big plastic
bottles, and there are those stoppers that fit in the neck that make
them into a water bottle for rabbits, and other pets to lick (rabbits
would chew up the bottle neck if it wasn't somehow shielded though).
Many many things to do with them, in fact do a search for the size
bottle you want to use up, and you'll likely find some of the uses for
them. I put in just one way to search: 2 liter soda bottle uses and
got quite a few hits. one for a magnetometer! Try it you'll like it!
I will certainly look for the magnetometer -- what home is complete
without one?! Actually, I've been hunting for years for soda
bottle-plastic ideas. Specifically, how they might be cut neatly,
painted, molded, etc. Have even contacted several 'Plastics Board'
type organizations, with no luck. I mean, if you cut off the top and
bottom, you have a nice plastic cylinder that *must* be a useful start
to *something*. And if you cut the cylinder top to bottom, you have a
small sheet of sturdy clear plastic. Could the plastic be melted,
shaped and dyed for jewelry or faux stained glass? It just irks me to
just toss these useful objects into the recycling bin. Most of the
projects *I* turned up involved gluing felt and sequins to the bottles
to make kitsch centerpieces.
Thanks for the search suggestion. I'd never used size.
If you can't get your paint to stick to plastic, try painting primer on
the plastic first and then paint the primer.
I recently used 2 apple joice bottles (type 1 PETE Polyethylene
teraphthalate) to start tomato and pepper seeds. The tomato seeds were
organically certified and went nuts compared to my tray started tomatoes.
I'm assuming the higher temperature from a greenhouse effect and moisture
recycling was responsible and not the organic origin (the organic plants
were also mysteriously gnawed on, but turned out okay, the only access was
via 3mm holes in the bottom and near the top ... soil mix was leftover from
last year and may have had insect eggs inside). The soil was only
marginally difficult to pour into the normal opening.
The pepper seeds were non-organicly certified and also had the
dissadvantage of me knocking the container over several times. Those seeds
only recently peeked through, which is more than i can say for the ones i
had in newspaper pots ... nada (but I accidently left those outside in cold
along with the bottle). After a while, some fluffy fungus started to grow
in the center of the pepper bottle, but then I remover the screw-on lid for
ventilation and the fungus is no longer evident. (Surprisingly the
tomatoes did not have a problem with damping off, and for both, algae was
not a problem other than the vermiculite which was already green coming out
of the bag.)
I'm pretty sure that 2 liter soda bottles are now also made of PETE
although less thick. You should be able to cut off the top and invert it
(a la somebody else's competing brand slug trap) to act as a cover. This
will also make it easier to put soil into. When you are done, cut it
open, remove plants, rinse it out and recycle as usual. Water recycling
may not be as good, depending on the seal.
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