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Every garden-maker should be an artist along his own lines

~ Vita Sackville-West ~

From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

January is the month of looking through catalogs that promise color and beauty for the coming season. It's the month for making lists of seeds to order, plants to buy and projects to tackle for 2013. I am resolving to plant more flowers along the front wall,, try growing jerusalem artichokes and more herbs. And, this year, I will do something creative with my cracked and broken pots; Dava offers fun suggestions in this months article.
Let's hear about your plans for 2013 - join us on facebook or send us an email!

Happy New Year, Belle

Green Thumbs Galore LLC

Clay Pot Upcycling Ideas

by Dava Stewart

A few weeks ago, Belle shared a photograph of the cutest mini-garden made from a broken clay pot and it got me thinking about other ways to put those broken and unused pots to use, and dreaming up some imaginary gardens.

The most commonly given advice is to use the broken clay pieces in the bottoms of other (unbroken) pots to help with drainage. To tell the truth, at my house the number of broken pots may well be greater than the number of whole pots. Putting a few pieces in the bottoms of planters will only get rid of so many clay shards.

Even the not-so-crafty can glue broken clay pieces to other planters for decoration. It’s a fun winter activity that might help with the gardening doldrums that seem to come after a couple of weeks of cold weather. Glue the pieces around the rim, spell out a word, paint the shards and create a pleasing pattern - the possibilities are endless. To me, this is just about the perfect craft - it requires virtually no skills but turns out looking good!

For years, I have had this vision of my garden, lush and blooming, with pavers forming little paths through it. Because I’m cheap frugal, I’ve looked at lots of tutorials on how to make garden pavers. After all of that research, plus the more recent research on how to reuse or recycle broken clay pots, has given me an idea. If I ever do get around to making those pavers, I’ll use terracotta pieces to decorate them!

In fact, my imaginary bird bath, the wind chimes hanging from the yet-to-be-planted apple tree, and the planter filled with fragrant ginger are all adorned with bits of terracotta. Ah, garden dreams...

Whether or not my pavers and all the rest ever come to be, one thing I’m definitely going to do (even before spring!) is use pieces of broken pots to from some boundaries in one of my beds.  Just stick them into the ground around the edge of the bed and create a funky, bumpy terracotta border. Again - not much skill involved and the result is still cool!

A commenter on the photo that Belle shared on Facebook said that she makes a “Toad Abode” when one of her pots breaks. A little research revealed that toads love damp, shaded areas. Simply place the broken pot in such a spot and make sure there is an opening big enough for a fat toad to pass through. Toads love garden soil because it is easy to dig in, so your pot might create the perfect get-away for a friendly toad!

When my imagination is really running wild, one of the paver paths leads from the apple tree full of chimes to a shady, quiet area with a lovely water feature. This is the perfect (imaginary) place for a Toad Abode.

Placing a broken pot on its side and planting flowers so that they seem to be spilling out of the overturned container creates a whimsical point of interest in a bed. I’ve seen pictures of other people’s gardens with pots so placed, and it’s really cute, especially with bright flowers like petunias. I wonder if you could get the same general effect by just kicking over a broken pot? Hmmm....

Stacking broken pots so that they look like Roman ruins looks really neat, too, especially when moss is strategically planted here and there. In the imaginary garden I’m building, there are a couple of stacks of pots near that water feature, and moss grows along the edge of the pool and creeps up to the stacks.  

There are some talented, creative people out in the world who take their broken pots and somehow wire them together, then paint them and make them look like people. Those clay pot people are really neat, but that project is far too complicated even for my garden dreams! If you can make one of those, will you send us the instructions?!


January Ideas:

Mini Garden:
Tipsy Tower;
Pot people: