Many people rent properties and cannot always change their garden structure (such as having decked, paved or concreted areas), or you may only have small areas which are paved over. Don’t let this stop you from creating a mini wildlife haven on your doorstep this year. Get creative and grow beautiful flowers, shrubs or even edibles in containers, old pallets, buckets, or even an old bath! When it comes to containers there is no end to what you can use, just let your imagination run wild and see what you can do.
Planters, in some ways have advantages over planting directly into your soil. You can choose the exact type of soil which is used in your planters allowing you to create and experiment with different types of planter gardens from alpine containers through to cottage garden containers.
Choosing your planters and upcycling
Planters can come in all shapes, sizes, materials and colours, they don’t have to be expensive if you put your mind to it I’m sure you could find some free planters such as old baths from sharing sites such as Freecycle to large old plastic paint buckets. Choosing trailing plants such as Heucherella, Clematis repens, or Hedera species (Ivy) can help to hide ugly planters.
No one wants to drown their lovely new plants, so its important to ensure your planter has adequate drainage holes, you can easily add holes to most items with the help of a drill.
If your planter is made from metal then you need to think about how quickly it will warm up in summer or cool down in winter. Metal planters will warm up rapidly in summer and can cause roots to burn, or the soil to dry much faster. To avoid this you can line the inside of the planter to create a buffer between the metal and your soil.
Watering your planter
Planters can be prone to drying out quickly, especially in the warm summer months. To help prevent your soil drying out you can cut the tops of old 1/2 litre plastic bottles, cut some small drainage holes and plant them into your soil, once filled with water they will act as slow drip feeders helping to keep your soil watered.
Mulching your planter
Mulch is wonderful for helping to suppress weeds, retain water within your planter and protect the soil from heavy drops from your hosepipe/watering can. Planters which are in full sun will especially appreciate a good layer of mulch.