The Wild Gardener

You would be amazed at what will hold a plant. There are vases and jardinieres, urns and pots, troughs and tubs, window boxes for window ledges, pots to hang on walls or from trees, just plain hanging baskets, not to mention discarded sinks, old wheelbarrows, abandoned tires, abandoned super-market carts and even a toilet (or two).

Believe it or not, an antique toilet bowl (especially from the 19th century), in good condition, makes a very effective pot.

And while purists bemoan the use of old car and truck tires (especially at the entrances to trailer courts), I do not. Anything that helps to relieve the increasing monotony of both our urban and suburban scene is welcome — at least to me.

Tires, for example, can be stacked (you can glue them together if you fear they might come apart) — but remember to break up the soil they sit upon, thus improving drainage. It should be acknowledged that a noted English garden writer thinks that tires for the garden are trashy — but, hey, that’s England for you!

Today, considering the demands made upon my time and my energy, if given a choice between having an ample backyard garden or a terrace with a grand collection of pots with plants within, I’d take the containers, hands down.

Why? Containers provide so many choices for gardeners — choices from dressing up the front entrance to your home, to modifying a bare deck from its lineup of uninteresting wooden planks, ceramic tiles or concrete blocks, to actually hiding an ugly foundation without digging up the existing soil.

Want to change the look of your garden? Bring in some new containers with some new plants, and take the old plants to a secret place on your property (that’s well screened by a fence or hedge) and replant them at your ease.

Tired of the general look of your perennial border, but not willing to take the time to redesign or replant? Move in some great containers holding, for example, small Japanese maples or beautifully planted mixes of perennials and annuals that will bloom all summer and well into the fall.

Want to experiment with some plants that usually give in to the extremes of your climate? Try growing these beauties in pots. You’ll have ample control of your environment — using mobility to your best advantage as you move plants from place to place, taking advantage of weather protection where you find it.

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