Transform Junk into a Home for Your Plants

My father is an inveterate collector of junk. My parents’ detached garage housed two cars for perhaps a year before the junk took over: now there is a narrow path from one end to the other, and along the path are wheels, furniture, mailboxes, scrap metal, boards, old furniture, and fencing supplies. Of course, the debris is not junk to my father; he says someone might need it someday. To his credit, I did refinish some of the furniture to furnish college apartments and I still use some of it today. He also made money recently by selling some of the scrap metal leftover from repairing gates and building cattle trailers. I do not think he has ever purchased a mailbox.

I took an old wooden straight chair without a seat from the pile to use in my garden as a planter. Despite having numerous others which have waited decades for someone to refinish them, my father was reluctant to part with this one since he knew it was going outside where it would eventually rot. I convinced him that this one was likely to rot inside the shed before he ever refinished it, and he relented.

My chair’s seat was already missing, but if your chair still has a seat, you will need to remove the seat and replace it with chicken wire or a wire with holes no larger than an inch in diameter. Make sure you use a flexible wire you can twist over the sides of the seat support, and leave a basket shape big enough to hold potting soil and plants. Line the basket with moss or any material you want as long as water can permeate it but soil cannot.

Arrange the plants of your choice in the basket. Put the planter somewhere you will remember to water it and try to keep it out of full sun. I have to water mine nearly every day even though it is in the shade. In my planter, I have a mix of annuals and perennials: a chartreuse grass in the rear for height, wire vine and creeping Jenny in the front to trail over the lip of the basket, and impatiens and lobelia in the center for color.

I am interested in recycling and saving money, and planters made of items I obtain free of charge satisfy both needs. If you do not have a junk pile handy, look around at garage sales, or thrift stores for other items to use as planters; many items will do as long as they have holes for drainage. Possible planter ideas are work boots, toolboxes, unused wheelbarrows, and wooden packing crates.

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