Flower boxes have been used since ancient times to grow food, medicinal herbs, and ornamentals plants. Today, flower boxes add beauty and functionality to homes and commercial buildings around the world.
Early flower boxes were made from clay. In later years, wire hay baskets became popular in English cottage gardens, whilst wrought iron was used to make the highly decorative window boxes popular in France. Today creativity rules, and gardeners make flower boxes from terra cotta, wood, metal, synthetic materials, and even castaway furniture. Following are our favourite clever ideas for turning old furniture into whimsical flower boxes.
Make a Bathtub Flower box
Clawfoot bathtubs make eye-catching flower boxes for lawns, patios, and balcony gardens. Cover the drain hole with wire mesh so the soil doesn’t run out the hole. For improved drainage add a layer of pebbles, rocks, or crushed stones to the bottom of the tub. Add good planting medium to within three or four inches of the top. Claw foot tubs are deep enough to grow shrubs or dwarf fruit trees and big enough for an herb or salad garden.
Plant Flowers in an Old Bed Frame
Paint an old brass bed frame an eye-catching colour and make it a true flower “bed”. Measure the inside dimensions of the frame. Choose where you want your flower bed to go, then build up the soil with organic matter to the size and shape of the bed frame. Place the frame over your mound and add flowers for a unique and playful garden.
Turn a Desk, Table, or Bureau into a Flowerpot Holder
You can transform any piece of furniture with a flat top into a holder for one or more flowerpots. First, choose the desk, table, or bureau you want to use. For a bold statement, paint the piece with a bright colour and finish it with a weatherproof coating.
Place the pot or pots on the furniture and trace around the bottom of each pot with a marker. Turn the pots over and trace around the tops. Then saw a hole that is larger than the bottom of the pot and smaller than the top. Your flowerpots should fit snugly in their holes so winds don’t dislodge them.
Create a Commode Garden
Popular in the early 1900s, solid wood commodes make perfect plant holders because they already have openings. A typical commode measures about 18 inches square, with a 12-inch diameter opening. You can fit a standard flowerpot into the opening with just the lip showing. Or, place a decorative brass or ceramic container so the bottom of the pot recesses into the commode’s hole.
Tips for Container Growing
Whatever container you use, make sure to choose plant varieties that grow in your locale and under the conditions you can provide. For example, succulents and other drought-tolerant plants grow well on rooftop gardens. Impatiens and begonias thrive in shady spots, whilst marigolds and zinnias love the sun. Always use a high-quality planting medium designed for container growing.