37703Once upon a time, gardeners had very limited options for places to grow plants. They could strew pots and planters about, and possibly set up a trellis or arbor. For the very ambitious, there were windowboxes. The majority of gardening was done on the knees, on the ground. And that just doesn’t work for everyone: some of us lack well-drained soil (or soil at all!), while others no longer have springy young knees and backs.

Fortunately, gardening has changed over time, just as we have!

With today’s trend toward growing one’s own food — even for those who live in urban apartments and shared rooms — ever more creative ways to grow plants are being discovered. And that’s good even for those of us lucky enough to have beds and borders. Every landscape needs a little freshening up, a bit of a change. And just listen to the new approaches to container gardening we’re hearing about:

Gutter Gardening – You know those expensive gutters that run along the edge of your roof and have to be replaced periodically because they sprout holes or rust out? Find some old ones your neighbor has thrown out, spray-paint them (or leave them “rustic”), drill a few holes in the bottom (if they aren’t already cracked), and nail them to your back fence at whatever height you like. Then fill them with soil and plant to your heart’s content. You can have a high-rise planting on the fence, with several “storeys” of gorgeous plants, without digging in the dirt or even getting out of a wheelchair.

36665Palettes and Blocks – Gardeners are finding that nearly anything with sides and an open center can serve as a planter. Disused wooden palettes of the kind you see thrown around behind the grocery store can be stacked and filled with soil to create a beautiful raised bed. Cinderblocks with holes through them, ditto. Tin cans — labels on or off, depending on your garden style — just need a hole in the bottom before being nailed to a fence in any arrangement that pleases you.

Sidewalk Reclamation – If you are absolutely out of garden soil but want to put in a pretty ground-cover, low-growing herbs, or even some veggies, consider pulling up some of the paving stones in your garden. You can create beautiful patterns — from simple checkerboard to abstract arrangements — that keep enough pavers on the ground to make walking easy, yet break up the monotony of a solid hardscaped walkway. The effect is breathtaking, and the maintenance is so easy when you can just walk out to the spot you need and sit down without fear of crushing nearby plants!

Topsy Turvy Beds – The secret to this 37702and much of “vertical gardening” is chickenwire. Take a frame of any kind — an old painted, peeling window frame works nicely, for instance — and set it on a work table. Nail a piece of plywood to the back, then fill it with soil and fix a piece of chickenwire over the soil. Sow your seeds or set your small plants between the holes in the wire, and grow it on the ground outdoors for a few weeks. When the plants have rooted, carefully fix it to a fence or wall and mist or fine-water it. Instant garden bed, right at eye level!

30944Found Objects – Much of the charm of the new container gardening comes in seeing familiar things in a new way. Instead of a store-bought trellis for your sweet peas, consider using an old bicycle wheel. Instead of yet another terracotta pot, why not take that worn-out pair of garden boots and plant something pretty in them? (They probably already have the drainage holes!) Got a wheelbarrow with a rusting-out base or broken handle? Turn it sideways as though it just tipped over, mound soil around and out of the open base, and let it overflow with “spilled” blooms!

We live in an exciting time to garden. Our plants are leaving the soil and climbing the fence, colonizing the patio and deck and balcony of our living spaces, and coming indoors. Have fun devising new ways to use materials you might already have at hand to expand your garden beyond its ground-level boundaries!


About Park Seed

Our team of talented garden writers at Park Seed are here to bring you helpful and insightful content! Be sure to leave a comment with any questions or comments you may have. Thank you for reading!

Leave a Reply