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Wheelbarrows, kitchen sinks, woven baskets, retired tires and more can be repurposed into planters to add a touch of whimsy to Georgia gardens. Photo | Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener

Strict! budgets! or! urban! homesites!

shouldn’t! mean! that! Georgians! give! up! on! the!idea!of!having!gardens!of!their!own.!With! a! little! bit! of! creativity,! there’s! no! need! for! them! to! miss! out! on! growing! edibles! or! brightly! colored! flowers! outside! the! traditional!garden!environment.!! !

A!wide!variety!of!both!edible!and!ornamental! plants! can! be! successfully! grown! in! repurposed! containers.! According! to! gardening! experts,! edible! choices! for! container! gardens! include! strawberries,! blueberries,!beets,!Swiss!chard,!salad!mixes,!pansies,! bronze! fennel,! spring! onions,! cherry! tomatoes! and! herbs.! “Herbs! are! perfect! for! containers,”! says! Marjorie! Stansel,! former! president! of! the! Georgia! Master!Gardener!Association.!! People! choose! to! grow! their! plants! in! repurposed! containers! for! a! variety! of! reasons.! In! the! South,! one! of! those! is! to! reduce! the! threats! of! bolls!and!bermudagrass,!she!says.! Repurposed! planters! can! take! a! number! of! different! forms:! wheelbarrows,! woven! baskets,! pallets,!wooden!boxes,!cans,!buckets,!overLtheLdoor! shoe! hangers! and! even! old! chairs! and! bathtubs.! In! one! of! Stansel’s! children’s! gardens,! milk! crates! are! 12! !

used!to!grow!a!succession!of!potatoes.!! “As!long!as!you!can!put!holes!in!the!bottom,! you!can!plant!in!it,”!Stansel!says.!“Some!people!have! a!theme!to!their!garden!and!may!want![containers]! to!go!along!with!their!home.!…!There!are!a!lot!of!us! that! go! along! with! the! rural! or! folk! art! motif! that! opens! you! up! to! a! lot! of! containers! that! you! can! use.”!!! The! use! of! creative! planters! can! create! a! touch! of! whimsy.! These! objects! provide! more! traditional! gardens! with! a! focal! point! and! a! conversation! starter,! says! Australian! gardener! Anne! Gibson,!who!runs!the!website!The!Micro!Gardener.! The! main! requirements! for! repurposed! containers! are! that! they! can! hold! potting! soil! and! that! they! won’t! fall! apart! when! the! plants! in! them! are! watered.! There! are! a! few! caveats,! however:! Stansel!says!woven!baskets!can!be!great!planters,!so! long! as! they’re! lined! —! plus,! they! can! be! tossed! in! the! compost! pile! if! they! do! start! to! disintegrate! —! and! Gibson! recommends! metal! containers! be! reserved!for!succulents!such!as!cacti.!! “Whilst! not! wanting! to! dampen! your! enthusiasm! for! gardening! in! repurposed! planters,! I! encourage! you! to! do! your! due! diligence! when! choosing!that!perfect!container,”!she!says.! That! due! diligence! includes! considering! size,! shape,!material!and!color!of!containers.!

February 2016 agriCULTURE Magazine