June 6, 2010

Crafty gardeners use junk to decorate landscape

Recycling tossed-away stuff as planters helps to bring personality to outdoor living spaces.

By KAREN DEER McClatchy Newspapers

Are you a scavenger? If you are, maybe you'll be lucky enough to find a Radio Flyer stuffed into a city trash bin, as we did. It was old, rusty and could barely move. We grabbed it.

click image to enlarge

A red radio flyer wagon gets new life in the garden.

McClatchy Newspapers

If not, you may want to hold on to some of your junk for your garden paths, patios and porches.

With the help of a garden center, the red wagon was transformed into a lavish garden centerpiece, filled with annuals, perennials and herbs.

You can personalize your garden with old items scavenged from basements, garage sales and flea markets. See what a little fresh paint, new blooms and even strawberries did to these old items.

OLD WOODEN CHAIR

Wendy Doan, garden stylist at For the Garden, St. Louis, Mo.

1. Cut center out of chair seat so pot can rest on the frame.

2. Spray-paint chair and pot.

3. Plant large pot (we used a 12-inch clay pot plus smaller potted plants for the ladder part of the chair) filled with yellow sweet potato vine, red verbena, Tango Neon purple geranium, Calibrachoa Dreamsickle, Supertunia Royal Velvet and premium potting soil.

Price: $55 for soil, flowers and spray paint.

OLD METAL STRAINERS

Pam Naugle, assistant general manager at Hartke Nursery, St. Louis

1. Line both large and small strainers with plastic grocery bags, so the soil doesn't wash out of the holes.

2. Fill both strainers with soil.

3. Place an upside-down 5-inch clay pot into the back of the large container. Push it down until it is level with the rim of the strainer.

4. Place the small strainer on the upside-down pot and the back rim of the large strainer. (Naugle used a dragonfly pole pushed through the strainer, through the pot and into the soil below to stabilize the top strainer).

5. Plant the smaller strainer with Dianthus Strawberry Parfait and Allysum Snow Crystals.

6. Plant the larger strainer with strawberry plants. (Naugle used the everbearing variety).

Price: About $25 for flowers, strawberries, soil and dragonfly.

RED RADIO FLYER WAGON

Maria Mitchell, sales associate at Sugar Creek Gardens, St. Louis, created a fairy woodland garden

1. Drill holes in the wagon for drainage. Line with pebbles for additional drainage.

2. Fill wagon with Miracle Gro potting mix containing Osmocote.

3. Select miniature plants such as miniature conifers, pathway plants, herbs and small flowering perennials and annuals. Add fragrant flowers for bees and butterflies. Plants used: Dwarf Alberta spruce, common juniper, Paul's dwarf mugo pine, Digitalis Goldcrest, English daisy, Sedum yunnanense, sweet alyssum, Scotch moss, Ajuga Chocolate Chip and Herniaria Sea Foam.

4. Add accessories including a miniature cottage with a fence and gate, stones to terrace and create paths, and colored glass to create a stream. Other items used: a miniature garden bench, chair, wheelbarrow, flower pot, beehive, birdhouse, birdbath, miniature bees, butterflies, ladybugs, birds, raccoon, a cat, a toad with a toadstool and fairies.

Price: $75 to $100 includes soil, flowers, fairies and accessories.

OLD METAL WATERING CAN

Diane White, owner of White's Greenhouses, Godfrey, Mo.

1. Fill the bottom one-third of the can with plastic crumpled containers to improve drainage.

2. Fill the rest of the can with potting soil.

3. For height, plant a white caladium. For fullness, plant a dragon wing begonia and Torenia 'Blue Wave.'

4. To soften the look, plant asparagus fern to drape over the edge.

5. After planting, spread a slow-release fertilizer and then cover the soil with sphagnum moss for a finished look.

Price: $25 for soil, flowers, plants and fertilizer.

OLD MAN'S BOOT

Leslie Sortino, sales associate at Bowood Farms, St. Louis

1. Remove the steel toe and shoe tongue.

2. Drill holes through the sole near the ball of the foot and drill one hole in the inside arch through the leather.

3. Plant the small toe hole with spicy mix micro-greens such as cabbage Red Ace, mustard Sawtooth and radish China Rose. Wrap the green tops in a rolled newspaper to prevent them from becoming damaged in the process of threading them through the boot and then into the small hole.

4. Line back of the shoe and tongue area with a scrap of coir liner. This liner is typical in hanging baskets. Add potting mix and time-release fertilizer.

5. Plant the boot with Lavandula stoechas Blueberry Ruffles, pansy Fizzy Lemonberry and Nemesia Violet Ice.

6. Arrange the shoes' strings and water thoroughly.

Price: $10 to $15 for flowers, fertilizer, potting mix and coir liner.

 

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