I’m pretty sure that my house is full now. After years of hanging around auction rooms and vintage fairs, there’s very little space to introduce any new furniture. Plus, we’re in the middle of the painful process of selling our house, so I’m trying to declutter rather than add to the madness. My garden is a different story, though. Outside, there’s always room for one more pot…after all, we can take those with us, even if we end up renting a property for a while, as seems quite likely at the moment. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
I love my garden but I’m not an expert. I’m learning all the time, and I’ve found that planting up pots is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to add interest. Over the last couple of years, I’ve repurposed old sieves, colanders, cooking pots, cash boxes, ice cream tins and I’ve even created a herb garden in an old drawer. Most of my containers have been purchased at car boot sales or charity shops. I have found that getting up at the crack of dawn is the only way to find bargainous gardenalia. It gets snapped up as soon as it comes out of the car boot, so you have to pounce. I think my best buy is probably the enormous sieve, pictured above, which cost the princely sum of a fiver. It now houses a mound of saxifrage, whose rosy pink flowers contrast beautifully with the rough zinc surface. Here are some more ideas:
This old wooden trug was a nice find at an antiques fair. Wood is obviously prone to rotting if you leave it out in all weathers, but I enjoyed displaying some herbs in this for a season.
An old kitchen sieve, £1 from a charity shop, filled with trailing lobelia, and a black metal cash box from a car boot sale, which the seller said he’d retrieved from the bottom of a river! It looks quite pretty planted with sedums for a touch of industrial style, despite its murky past.
A Walls ice cream tin, a bit battered and worn, but I love it paired with some purple French lavender. I often buy lavender plants from Lidl or Morrisons. These two supermarkets have the best value and most on trend plants around in my view. I do buy at local nurseries and garden centres too, but if my budget is tight, then I head for the high street.
Kitchen enamelware always looks so pretty with a plant popped inside. I bought this aubretia in the spring, and adore the deep shade of the petals. Later, I planted it into a larger container, where it’ll come back year after year.
Looking for table decorations? Vintage teacups work brilliantly for a temporary home for bedding plants such as these violas. I used to love all things floral, but I’m having a retro phase at the moment, and fell for these vivid 1970s designs. I kept these in the house for about a week before planting the violas outside.
Now that we’re indoors, these tiny old drawers are a great place to stash some succulents. I bought these from someone on Instagram. It’s a good place to stumble across the occasional vintage purchase.
Finally, I spotted these happy tins when we were recently on holiday on the small island of Paxos. I cruised all the grocery stores looking for attractive tins, and these were the best I found. I tucked them in my suitcase, and brought them all the way home. Once I’d used the contents, I just knocked a few holes in the bottom of the tins using a nail and a hammer, and they were good to go. My local market had herbs for £1 a pot this week, so I stocked up on mint and thyme and made a small display.
The main rule with container planting is that you need to have some drainage holes, or you risk drowning your plants, a common way to kill them. It’s easy to drill into wood or metal. If my pots don’t have holes, and I can’t make any, then I just use them as a temporary decoration, and re-house them into a more practical container once I’ve enjoyed them.