Exploring Unusual Growing Spaces

By Nikki Tilley | May 30, 2021
Image by RyanOverman
by Nikki Tilley
May 30, 2021

The strangest place I’ve ever grown a plant was in an old discarded computer monitor. The screen was knocked out but the empty shell seemed like the perfect spot to hold soil, and possibly a plant too. So I added a nice trailing sedum. And to add more unique appeal to the mix, I decided to include some moss from the yard to the outside of the computer. Yes, it really does grow anywhere – at least for a while. This paved the way for more interesting “containers.”

Wonderfully Weird Container Gardening

I started gardening in unusual growing spaces long ago, but I’m always excited to come across new ideas. For instance, I fondly remember our trip to the Cleveland Botanical Garden with other members of the GKH team. Within the Inspiration Garden, I found numerous ideas for gardening in different types of containers – like planting in file cabinets or growing flowers in purses. It certainly sparked my creative juices and upon my return home, I was on a mission. I tried growing plants in many of the objects I’d seen there, plus others. Here are some examples of my weird container gardening spaces:

  • an upturned hat
  • an old book
  • wheelbarrow
  • tool box
  • tackle box
  • colander
  • old boots and shoes
  • toy trucks, trains, etc.
  • old truck bed liner
  • computer monitor
  • tea pot
  • veggie and coffee cans
  • coffee mugs
  • decorative knick-knacks
  • pocketbooks
  • tires
  • dresser drawers
  • filing cabinet
  • discarded desk
  • cinderblocks
  • old doll heads (and trolls)
  • shoe organizer
  • shower caddy
  • chairs
  • bathtub
  • toilet
  • mailbox
  • canisters
  • sea shells

The list can go on and on. I already know I’m forgetting some. The point is that you can pretty much plant in about anything that holds soil, and for some plants (like moss, epiphytes, and air plants), you don’t even need that. Who says plants have to be grown in ordinary pots? Don’t be afraid to experiment with quirky container gardening. This includes vegetables and other edibles. As long as the “container” provides drainage and adequate space for roots, you’d be amazed at the weird places these plants can grow.

I think watching plants succeed in unusual growing spaces can be half the fun of gardening!

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