I like to garden, but live on the first floor of a sprawling four-story condo in Washington, DC. Because I prefer to look at the world through lush green shapes and a blaze of color, I cover all the windowsills with windowboxes and potted plants and hang flower baskets from the protective bars outside my windows.
I bought my original pots at garden stores and yard sales. But when a clay windowbox cracked this winter and I could no longer find a replacement in the right size, I discovered that my recycled oatmeal tins fit the space perfectly, even better than store-bought pots. They look good with the terra cotta containers and add quirkiness to the arrangement. A passerby contributed a tiny Statue of Liberty to the windowsill — another little surprise in my found-art urban garden.
Gardening in found containers is popular all over. Fine Garden Art of Bedrock Gardens in New Hampshire creates one-of-a-kind planters and art for the garden from seemingly anything they can find. Their eco-friendly containers start out as anything from old Magnavox record-player “horns” to massive boilers and repurposed tubs.
Old tires have sprouted plants almost since Goodyear discovered how to make them out of rubber. Now gardeners can also help keep some of the 250 million tires discarded each year from the landfill in style. For a touch of whimsy, GiddyUp Swings, which also makes backyard tire swings, crafts an entire line of hanging planters in the shape of tropical birds entirely from discarded tires.
DIY gardeners can easily create more straightforward tire planters, either plain or painted, with few tools.
Vintage bathtubs are spacious containers for large plants and impressive clusters of colorful flowers. They are also a good place for a city dweller to grow root vegetables.
For additional articles on found garden art see: