Boots, Branches, Bowls and other Gardening Containers

Container gardening is on the rise it seems especially with there being more balcony, patio and smaller yard gardens! There are lots of types of plants that can be grown in containers including vegetables, annuals, perennials, herbs, succulents and even small shrubs in larger containers. What’s even more fun is planting into items we might not think to use as planters!  The unusual container can provide an element of interest and sparks creativity to use things that might otherwise be discarded or stored away. As well, these can be great gift ideas for something out of the ordinary but meaningful from the heart.

An example from my own experience is a time when friends gave birth to their first baby boy, and I decided to use my son’s Tonka dump truck (with permission) which we planted some pansies in the back. The parents were delighted with the gift and realized it was a temporary planter that one day their son would play with.  With the trend of succulent sales nowadays would also make an easy and excellent type of plants for such a container especially since they don’t need much water or maintenance.

In the kitchen we usually have several items that are often unused and could be repurposed to grow herbs in.  Containers such as colanders, pans, bowls, cups and other things are ideal to hold a variety of herbs, to add fragrance, texture and more importantly the culinary use of herbs in kitchens. Bylands grows many varieties of herbs such as basil, chocolate mint, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (as the song goes) and can be grown in any kitchen container that holds sufficient soil.

Old boots and shoes are also a way to make a statement and/or even a way to honor a loved one’s memory by planting something to fill their shoes. Boots especially have a lot of room for soil to grow strong roots and add height to the display. When appropriately placed in a garden, boots and shoes can bring a smile as eyes stumble upon them.

Another idea from experience is to a time when I managed Roots Garden Center in Lloydminster. At the time we were out to Kelowna and went on some hikes in the forests. We came upon some unique big old stumps and branches with dips and crevices, that frankly looked like pieces of artwork in my eyes. We loaded them up, I took them back to the garden center and eventually they were planted up for summer with colorful annuals! What a hit! They sold quickly and each year customers brought them back for replanting. Driftwood and bark and branches look at home in a landscape.

Wheelbarrows, pails (even with holes, for better drainage), bicycles (how about vines growing around), barrels, wooden boxes, crates, tubs and more can be used and for the vintage look rust adds a bit of nostalgia to the garden.

Imagination and creativity are unlimited when growing plants in containers beyond the use of plastic, clay or cement pots. As long as the chosen vessel will hold soil and drainage is provided, plants will grow in a wide assortment of containers. Whether used for gift giving, honoring a loved one, or simply adding a fun and interesting conversation piece to the garden is a great way to recycle unusual containers to show off plants. 

Happy Container Gardening!


For more ideas ask your local garden center professionals and make sure you follow us on FacebookTwitter,YouTubeInstagram and Pinterest for other tips and hints.


 Guest post by Darlene - Bylands Account Representative

I grew up on a farm near Lloydminster and also grew up learning to garden. For some reason pulling weeds from around vegetables and flowers was a source of solace and accomplishment. I was a single mom by the time I attended Olds College to pursue a career in Horticulture and Floriculture. Nature and hands on work, including at Bylands, has been the best school for learning ever since.  Love to travel and always want to live a healthier lifestyle. Plants, people and Nature continue to play a big role in that. I love attending Oilers games with my nephew.