A couple of years ago, I visited a beautiful winery in upstate New York.

I must admit that I was more interested in the gardens that surrounded the winery than the wine itself.  

The gardens were filled with a variety of perennials and even a prickly pear cactus that thrived in despite the frigid winters.  

But, it was this unique planter that caught me eye…

These old boots were filled with hen & chicks succulents that sit amid flowering thyme.

I don’t know about you, but I have never thought of an old pair of shoes as a plant container.  I must admit that I really like it, how about you?

You can see more about my visit to this beautiful garden as well as other adventures in upstate New York, here.

As we continue along on our week long journey of unique containers, I thought that I would share with you one that is portable.

This old wheelbarrow makes a very useful container because you can move it easily to a shady or sunny area as needed.

This antique wheelbarrow is filled with marigolds and dianthus and was located along Route 66 in the historic downtown of Williams, AZ which is a place that we spend time every summer.

This stretch of Route 66 is filled with fun and quirky examples of Americana that I shared in an earlier post.

With any container, you need drainage holes, so you would have to add some to whatever unique container you decide to plant.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you a container that you may find yourself sitting on by accident.

Today, I have two different unique containers to show you and both are on two wheels.

This old bicycle was located in a place where bikes and horses are commonplace and cars are not.

I saw this unique container while visiting Mackinac Island earlier this summer.  The front basket was lined with moss and filled with geraniums and trailing ivy.  The side baskets were also planted too.

The bicycle was sitting in the front garden of a quaint house and I noticed that there was a hummingbird feeder on the handle.

This bicycle planter was located in front of a shop in the historic downtown area of Noblesville, Indiana, which is located just outside of Indianapolis.

When we were young, my sister had a pink bike much like this one while I had a purple one.

As you can see, I see many neat gardening ideas on my road trips.  You can read about my trip to Mackinac Island, here and my trip to Indiana, here.

Tomorrow, I will show you a portable container that has only one wheel and not two.

One of my favorite unique containers came in a most unexpected form…

Okay, what does an old, rusty pickup truck have to do with plants?

The bed of the pickup was filled with soil and potato plants.

Now, if that isn’t a unique container, then I don’t know what is.

I saw this bed of potatoes growing at the University of Tennessee garden last year.

I don’t think that the truck runs anymore, but it certainly functions as both garden art and a planter.

Tomorrow, I have two different unique planters to show you and both are planted on two wheels.

What kind of containers do you have planted in your garden?

Are they terra-cotta, glazed or plastic?

Do you have any unique containers?

I like seeing plants that have been planted in unusual containers.  So this week, I will be sharing with you some of my favorites that I have seen on my travels throughout the United States.

Today’s unique container comes from Tennessee.

Have you ever seen a trash can used as a container for plants?

On a visit to the University of Tennessee Gardens, I visited their wonderful kitchen garden, which was filled with surprises and I came away inspired.

You can read more about my visit to these gardens and see some more pictures of these ‘trashy’ containers, here.

See you again tomorrow, when I’ll show you another unique planter that has 4 sets of tires.

Do you like to container garden?

I do.  

I have annual flowers, herbs, succulents and vegetables growing in a variety of containers around my garden.

Containers are a great way to expand the boundaries of your garden.  Even if you don’t have any piece of earth to grow a plant in, you can create a garden in a pot.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw some beautiful containers at a client’s home.

As you can see, they weren’t being used except to hold a child’s pool toy.

The pots were from Italy – Tuscany to be exact.

The pots had come from her husband’s restaurant, which had recently had their landscape redesigned and no longer needed the pots.  So, he brought the pots home where they have sat ever since.

My client mentioned that she was trying to get rid of them and did I know of anyone who would want them?

Are you kidding me?

Of course, I knew of someone who would want them….me!

Now, I just had to figure out how to get them to my house.  These pots were big and heavy.  But, I knew of at least two strong men who would maybe help me out.

My husband and nephew were kind enough to come out on a very hot afternoon and help me out.

The pots were quite heavy, but they were able to get them up into our truck bed with a little help from me.

The pots were a little heavier than we expected, but finally we got all three up into the truck.

On the way home, we stopped by a Dairy Queen for ice cream sundaes and to cool off.

I can’t believe that I didn’t have to pay anything for these pots, saving me hundreds of dollars.

Of course, I am so thankful for the generosity of my client. 

Now I just have to figure out what to plant in them.  I will be using them in my back garden, which I hope to re-design this winter.

What would you plant in them?  I’d love to hear your ideas…

Come back tomorrow, when I will begin sharing a week’s worth of unique containers that I hope you enjoy!

I am always on the lookout for new ways to display annual flowers.  I’ll do anything from transforming old, antiques into planters to using brightly-colored containers.

On a recent visit to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin, I saw this creative use of an old, decaying tree trunk…

What a great example of a sustainable flower ‘pot’.

The depression within the tree trunk held just enough potting soil for the flowers to grow in.

Seeing this made me wonder what other items that we find in nature that we can use as planters.

Any ideas?

Over the weekend, my husband and I went away for the weekend to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary.

We had debated on where to go and decided to make the trip to southeastern Arizona.  Why this area, you may ask?  Well, I have lived in Arizona for 28 years and during the time, have traveled to the northwest, southwest, southern, northern, northeast and eastern regions of the state – but I had never been to the southeastern areas.  Our ultimate destination was to be the former mining town of Bisbee, now a popular tourist attraction.

Along the way to Bisbee, we decided to visit Tombstone along the way.  My husband had visited Tombstone when he was you, back when many boys dreamed of becoming a cowboy.

If you are a little rusty on your cowboy history, Tombstone is the place the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place in 1881.

The main street is blocked off to cars and is lined on either side by stores and restaurants catering to  tourists.

It was an interesting mixture of historical places converted into tourist attractions.

I enjoy visiting museums, so my husband and I headed over to the old courthouse, which has been turned into a museum.

It was very interesting to learn of Tombstone’s history as a silver mining town.

The back of the courtyard was where hangings took place.

Inside, was a diorama where the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral was depicted with a detailed description of what happened.

Cowboys stood along the side of the main street of Tombstone, which added to the illusion of being taken back in time.

After visiting the attractions along the main street, we decided to stroll through the adjoining streets.  There were many old buildings dating back to the late 1880’s that were still standing.

Tombstone is in zone 8a, which means that it gets down to 10 degrees in the winter months.  As a result, I was interested in seeing what types of plants did well here.

Coastal Cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera) 

Prickly pears and cholla cacti were in full bloom.

Cow’s Tongue Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii) 

There were no lawns to be seen and most of the landscape consisted of a variety of succulents including desert spoon, hesperaloe and yucca.

Yellow Bird-of-Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) 

I did see a beautiful yellow bird-of-paradise, which is usually seen in high desert areas where its more cold-tender cousins red bird-of-paradise (Caesalpinia pulcherrima) and Mexican bird-of-paradise (Caesalpinia mexicana) can struggle.

I love how the bright red stamens contrast with the yellow flowers, don’t you?  Yellow bird-of-paradise is hardy to -10 degrees or zone 6.

Texas sage as also prevalent in the area.

I wasn’t sure what to think of this collection of container plants.

It consisted of a mixture of plastic pots and toilets planted with live and silk flowers. I’m pretty sure my HOA wouldn’t allow this 😉

While Tombstone was much of what I expected, the history and cowboy themed attractions weren’t my favorite part of our visit…  

  I invite you to come back for my next post, where I will share with you why this small plant made me so excited and how it is part of a very historic plant!

Join me for my next post about our adventures in Tombstone.

Do you love tulips?

How about daffodils, hyacinths or muscari?

Now, if you live in the desert like me, you probably only see these beautiful, flowering bulbs when you are traveling to cooler climates.

So, I was excited when I was contacted by Living Gardens and asked to try growing their Deluxe Dutch Garden.

Imagine different types of flowering bulbs grouped together into one basket.  It is like having an entire garden!

These bulbs have been ‘forced’ into blooming early by refrigerating the bulbs before planting them in their containers and mailing them to you.

I was so excited when my Deluxe Dutch Garden came in the mail.

The bulbs had begun to grow already.  They were yellow because they hadn’t been exposed to sunlight.  Rest assured, once they get some sun, they will green up very fast.

Believe it or not, there are six different varieties of flowering bulbs for a total of 16 bulbs in this basket container.

The blooms will not appear all at once.  Flowers will appear in succession, which will give me a long time to enjoy their beauty and fragrance.

In 2 weeks, flowers were already starting to appear.

These small white flowers are from miniature ‘Star of Bethlehem’.  

The muscari are also beginning to bloom.  I love their delicate beauty.

I can’t wait to see what else starts to grow and bloom in my Deluxe Dutch Garden basket – especially tulips!

Living Gardens imports bulbs from all over the world, many from family-run farms.  They offer many different types of bulb gardens, sure to please anyone who wants a bright spot of color to enjoy indoors during winter.

So, whether you live in the desert where these flowering bulbs can be hard to find OR if you live in a cold climate and are desperate for some sign of spring – then a container filled with flowering bulbs is just right for you.

I recommend visiting Living Gardens and seeing all that they have to offer.  I am sure you will enjoy your container garden filled with forced bulbs as much as I do mine!

**I was given a Deluxe Dutch Garden, free of charge to review.  My opinions are my own.

*This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support in this way.*

Last winter, I was enjoying a rare moment of peace….no kids or husband in the house, the garden didn’t need any attention and no articles to write. So, I decided to see what was on television.  As I was channel surfing, I saw a gardening show and of course, I stopped and watched.

What I saw was the host and featured garden expert, showing how to grow vegetables and flowers together in containers. Since I love both vegetables and flowers, I was intrigued.  So I bought the book written by the featured garden expert and got started.


I found nice plastic containers on sale along with some tiny trellises, as well as planting mix (NOT potting soil, which gets too soggy for container plants).
Planting mix is specially formulated for containers – it has a light texture and holds just the right amount of moisture for plants.


Then, I started planting.  I came up with the vegetable and flower combinations on my own and I must admit that I was happy how they turned out…




The first container has purple violas, spinach, bell pepper plant and nasturtiums. I started all of these from transplants, except for the nasturtiums, which came from seed that I planted.
 
I periodically snip the spinach for salads and I have harvested a single bell pepper so far.  However, there are flowers on my pepper plant, so more peppers are on the way.
 
 
This container was planted with red and green leaf lettuce, pink dianthus and cucumbers.
 
I snip the lettuce for salad and the dianthus has been blooming nonstop. The only problem that I have had with this container are the cucumbers.
 
Cucumbers do best when started from seed, not transplants.  I have grown a lot of cucumbers over the years.  So, I placed two small trellises in the back of the container and planted cucumber seeds at their base. I picked a variety of cucumbers that were small and would do well in a container.
 
Unfortunately, they never came up.
 
I tried planting them in my regular vegetable garden and they never came up.
 
I tried starting them indoors and they didn’t sprout.
*I had purchased the seeds online from a very reputable seed company, but the entire package of seeds was defective. 
 
So I planted my go-to cucumber seeds and they are starting to grow beautifully.

 

My last vegetable/flower container has romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas and Icelandic poppies.
 
The lettuce has done very well, BUT my little dog discovered that he likes lettuce, and he would take some little bites from the sides of the lettuce.  I simply put some plastic patio chairs around the pot and he kept away.  Later, I took the chairs away and he left the lettuce alone.
 
The poppies haven’t bloomed yet, but I can see their buds, so it won’t be long now.

I have been picking off sugar snap peas every time I am in the garden and eating them on the spot.
 
So, does the idea of growing vegetables and flowers together appeal to you?
 
The book I read was “Easy Container Combos: Vegetables and Flowers” by Pamela Crawford. (I haven’t been asked to promote her book – I bought it myself and really enjoyed it so much). 
 
I can’t wait to try some different combos this summer once the lettuce fades away.  I promise I will share 🙂
 
**One thing I love so much about gardening is trying new things. This one was a home run for me.