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Planting with an artful eye

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

Summer is the time to show off your plants and your crafty side, too.

I’ve always admired the creativity of people who can look at something and re-imagine it to give it new life.

This time of year, you’ll see that creativity expressing itself in people’s yards and on their porches as all kinds of old furnishings and household items are turned into planters.

Why not take an old tool box or dresser drawer and give it new life as a place for flowers or herbs?

Line it with plastic and drill a few holes for drainage and you have a container garden with style.

Or nestle flower pots with saucers to catch the water overflow.

And what about that old straight-backed chair with the seat that’s seen better days?

Or, better yet, the chair without any bottom at all?

You know, the one you’ve been meaning to get fixed for years.

It would love to find itself in a place of prominence on your porch, greeting guests and getting compliments.

Just take out the seat and replace it with an old enamel bucket or a large flower pot, add some colorful flowers and, Bob’s your uncle, the chair is perfect, and you’re an artist!

What about the old bath tub that’s been sitting around in the shed all these years? It would make an amusing giant plant holder.

Fill it with beautiful flowers that have a natural flowing habit and watch the hummingbirds flock to them as they drape down in front and cause a sensation in your yard.

There can be a whole new life for old wheelbarrows, birdcages and magazine racks, too.

Even colorful old shoes can get into the gardening game.

Drill a few drainage holes in them and then fill your old rubber boots, muck boots or crocks (No drainage holes necessary here) with flowers and wait for the rave reviews.

And while we’re talking about repurposing things from inside the house for use in your gardening – why not turn that old dresser or buffet you’ve been meaning to refinish into a classic plant stand?

Open the drawers and stagger them so that the bottom drawer is open the most and the top is open the least.

Line them with heavy plastic and plant them with flowers and you have created a “talking piece” that your guests will never forget.

And, if you tire of using that piece of furniture for your plants, you can always chuck them out and refinish it for use in the house as originally intended.

Of course, worn-out baskets are always the perfect place to tuck a plant. Just put in a saucer and you have another interesting place to show off a favorite specimen.

When summer comes to a close, and it’s time to take in your flowers and summer plants, you can refill those unique containers – first with fall foliage and then evergreens for winter.

And if you happen to stumble upon an old pair of ice skates while you’re digging around in the shed, and sweating in the summer sun, make note of them.

After all, summer will fly by and we’ll be looking at fall leaves before you know it.

Then what could be more charming in the winter than to see an ice skate stuffed with evergreens and a red bow hung on a door or a porch railing?

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