Category Archives: Containers

Old TOMS Make Good Planters

Toms2No one at the Goodwill would ever step foot in my old TOMS. There was no way I could give them away. To describe them as worn out would be an understatement. They pounded the pavement for over a year to many fun places – Seattle, Asheville, Atlanta, Nashville. But they were Shabby with a capital S. It was time to get a new pair, yet I couldn’t bear to just throw the old ones away. What’s an earth-conscious gardener to do? Plant in them, that’s what. In about 15 minutes, my old Toms became hanging planters.

Toms_CollageFirst, I screwed them into the side of the garage. On the second shoe, I learned not to drill too far – you’ll drill right through the sole if you’re not careful.

DirtNext, I filled the toe part of the shoe about 1/3 of the way full with organic potting soil. Then, I gingerly set an everbearing strawberry plant into the shoe and poured some more potting soil in around it. I gently pressed the strawberry in place.

Toms1I watered those bad boys and my upcycled shoe planters were complete! The cloth provided the perfect amount of water retention and drainage! Win! Plus, from some views, they look like they’re walking down the garage, which makes me giggle. Functional upcycling + garden nerd levity. Win, win!

Video: This Bears Repeating

I’ve been thinking about doing a check-in post for a while now – a post where I give you a little update about things I’ve been talking about this year. The pears, the potatoes, the tomatoes. It will get done eventually. It’s just that for some reason, other things keep getting in the way.

So rather than putting off the idea or scraping it all together, I’ve decided to give you just a snippet, a piece of something I’ve wanted to share with you. It’s probably no coincidence that it’s the thing that greets me every time I walk in or out my front door.

I look down at my most recently planted succulent garden daily and think, damn, that is so freaking adorable! I have to show my friends how it’s been growing! It’s one of those things that to anyone else, it’s just a planter, but to me, it’s evidence of my horticulture growth. It’s evidence of the eye I’m starting to develop for plant aesthetics. Where as before I’d just put one plant in with another, now I see details in color, size and foliage that allow me to make planting decisions that result in something beautiful.

The color combination in this succulent garden makes me swoon. The fact that a few have a distinct maroon color while others have that pink hue just on the edge of their leaves makes me beam. They go together like pictures you’d hang in a room. Alone they are beautiful, but together it’s another level of pretty. It’s like a matte in a frame – it can bring out certain colors in a picture if you select the right one.

It’s also evidence of the loveliness of nature and what can result when you are patient. With just a little bit of TLC, it has filled in beautifully. I didn’t need to do much, but step aside and let them grow. It was as if the succulents said to me, “We’ll take it from here.”

So, I leave you today with my garden nerd musings and the tutorial post and video for this project. I hope it inspires you to make some horticultural eye candy for yourself.

Video: Screaming for Succulents

My name is Stacy and I’m addicted to succulents. Especially now that I’ve discovered the joy of nestling them into some unexpected container. I was at the Goodwill the other day, saw this sage green beauty of a metal caddy and heard it scream at me, “Plant some succulents in here!”

So today, I’m coming at you with a simple tutorial so you can plant a succulent garden too. I’ll show you how to separate and plant “Hens and chicks” and will give you some tips to get your little succulent garden off to a good start! It’s easy and adorable and I think you should make one.

I should warn you though that this project can be deceiving. You might buy a four dollar container and end up with a container worth over $50 once you invest in soil and plants. If you keep on top of it though, so those succulents establish themselves real well, those perennials will keep you smiling for seasons on end. Especially if you put them near your front door where they can greet you.

What creative things do you do with succulents on your patio or in your garden? I’d love to hear your ideas and see your creations. Then again…that might only fuel my addiction.

Think someone else might enjoy these video tutorials? Share the love and pass ’em on!  

Video: The Pallet Garden Prevails (Sort of)

A year ago, I made a pallet garden. I planted it with beautiful herbs and I videotaped the process for all to see.

Since then, it has become my most popular video on YouTube and I’m proud of that.
I wish I could say that a year later it is thriving just like the picture above. But in all honesty, it’s not. Every time I walk by it or remember to water the poor thing, I cringe at its current state.  I should know better than that, I think to myself. This self-proclaimed garden coach should not have her pallet garden in such disrepair. A year later it should be billowing over with abundant herbs, fuller than it was before. But it’s not. This is real life and I’m airing my dirty laundry.

The thing is, no matter how simple the method, whatever you plant needs care and maintenance. And my poor little pallet herb garden just hasn’t been getting the TLC it deserves. So I want to share with you what I’ve learned from my pallet garden mistakes. No matter what you’re growing, these gardening ground rules are key.

Location is imperative! There’s a permaculture principle about different locations in the garden that recognizes that we all have those spots in the yard that are rarely frequented and under-used. You don’t want to put something high-maintenance into that space. You might have good intentions, but it will get neglected. While I love the look of the spot that currently houses my pallet garden, it just doesn’t work. 

If your pallet garden is in a space that you rarely see, you will forget about it. These puppies dry out quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye out for them and keep ’em watered. Mine is in a location that is out of sight and somewhat sheltered from the rain, which ultimately led to the downfall of my pallet garden.

If the light isn’t good enough, most plants, edibles especially, just won’t thrive. The vertical nature of the pallet makes it awesome for small spaces, but if it’s not in a space that gets enough light, like my east facing , in-the-shadow-of-two-houses space, your pallet garden plants won’t be happy and all the effort you put into building the garden will be for not. The saying “right plant, right place” holds true for this type of garden too.

Despite the sorry state of my pallet, all is not lost. Relocation to a new spot in the yard will be the first step I’ll take to reclaim my pallet garden because it is really just too cute to waste. A little replanting to replace the plants that have met their end should give those empty spaces new life.  As the saying goes, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”