Learn how to use everyday items as eye-catching garden containers.
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By Jennifer Jones, Scripps Howard News Service
Big pots work just fine, but if you're looking for an eye-catching planter to use this spring, leave the pots in the kitchen and use a little imagination in the garden.
According to Linda Singleton, manager of Oconee Farm and Garden in Walhalla, S.C., anything that will hold dirt will probably hold a flower as well.
"This year I'm planning to do a few plants in some old tennis shoes. Just cut some holes in the tops if there aren't some already. You're going to throw them away anyhow," Singleton says. "Just make holes in the bottom for drainage through the sole. You can put anything in there that is shallow-rooted and doesn't need a lot of depth."
Galvanized buckets and tubs, wheelbarrows and watering cans have been a popular choice in the garden in recent years, but don't stop there. Singleton has even used cowboy boots for indoor plants, placing a tall plastic cup down in the boot to support the plant. Other articles of clothing that might double as creative planters include discarded hats.
"Take old gardening hats, the wide-brimmed ones, and suspend them (or get a bargain on a cheap one). They're already made of straw so you don't have to make holes in them for drainage," Singleton says.
Stepladders make creative displays for blooming flowers and hanging plants as well. Place big pots on each rung and use the shelf on the back for a hanging basket, Singleton says. Just be sure to use heavy terra cotta pots so the wind won't knock them off.
If you have cut down a tree and are waiting for the stump to rot, turn it into a planter.
"Use an axe to cut a deep hole into it, and fill it with potting soil and sun-loving plants like ivy or various flowers," Singleton says. "It helps it to rot and your yard looks better, too. Plus, it's less expensive than paying someone to pull it up or dig it out."
(Contact Jennifer Jones of the Anderson Independent-Mail in Anderson, S.C., at www.andersonsc.com.)
Kriss Weber shows how to craft this adorable terra cotta elephant -- perfect for any garden or patio.