Transform a wooden box into a stylish planter by enclosing it in slate. Inexpensive and easy to make, the planter can be filled with a range of plants—see pages 164-6 for an alpine-themed planting scheme.
Take your wooden wine box and drill drainage holes in the base using a large drill bit. You’ll need several holes, so space them evenly across the base. Drainage is vital to prevent the plant roots from sitting in too much water and rotting.
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Wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully cut out the 4 slate pieces using an angle grinder. Make sure you do this on a stable surface that will not be damaged by the angle grinder.
Spread a laye... >
Upcycle an old stepladder into a tiered planter by adding shelves across the steps. Paint in a snazzy color, plant in vintage crates, and, presto, you have an eye-catching, space-saving feature.
, TIME IT RIGHT You can paint your stepladder
at any time of the year, but colder weather may slow drying time. Aim to plant containers with a mixture of seasonal plants and crops for year-round interest.
Take your stepladder and, starting at the second rung down from the top, measure and mark a piece of batten so that it will fit across the full width of the ladder inside the frame, directly opposite the rung. Cut the batten to size with a handsaw. Hold a bubble level against the top edge of the rung and mark this point on the opposite side of the frame.
2 Position th... >
Create a vibrant and welcoming display of climbers by simply painting a terra-cotta pot in bright colors. We’ve used two colors here: a sunny yellow and a warm purple, with climbing poles in a soft gray.
TIME IT RIGHT You can paint your pot at any time of year, but in cold, wet, or freezing conditions, paint somewhere frost free and dry. Plant in early spring or fall so the plants can get established.
You need to seal your
terra-cotta pot first since the container is porous. In a small plastic container, mix up a solution of PVA glue and water at a ratio of 1:10 and then brush it all over the pot. Leave to dry for a couple of hours or overnight... >
Nutritious, fast growing, and with attractive flowers and lush foliage, climbing beans are easy to grow from seeds and perfect for planting in pots for an edible container garden or to decorate an entrance.
TIME IT RIGHT Sow seeds indoors from mid-spring or outdoors in late spring. Beans are frost sensitive so only plant outside once all frost is past.
You can expect to be harvesting 3 months after sowing.
climbing green bean ‘Pencil Pod Black Wax’
Italian climbing bean ‘Borlotto Lingua di Fuoco’ runner bean ‘Enorma’
To get your beans off to an early start, sow seeds 2in (5cm) deep from mid-spring in individual containers filled with potting mix. Water well and keep them indoors or in a greenhouse (see pp. 132-37 for early sowing instructions)... >
Get creative with bamboo poles. Make your own abstract-design trellis and use it to support climbing plants. This contemporary feature also makes an artsy screen for a small space.
■ TIME IT RIGHT You can grow trailing squash
plants vertically—it’s a good use of space. Put squash plants in during early summer when the danger of frost is over; the other plants can go in at the same time.
Paint the bamboo poles with exterior wood paint; we chose black gloss for a bold, modern look that would contrast strongly with the plants. Leave to dry completely.
Start with two long upright poles positioned at either end of the trough. Measure the distance between them and cut two poles to size with a good overlap.
3Tie these shorter poles at right ... >
TOOLS & equipment
2 wooden wine gift boxes (4-bottle) strong outdoor adhesive metal clamps
electric drill, drill bits & screws small handsaw wooden batten pencil, pen & ruler wooden rounded architrave additional piece of wood, for lid 4 metal hinges
exterior wood paint & paintbrushes clear marine varnish (optional) sheet of acrylic glass & silicone glue cupboard door knob square wooden batten 4 mirror fixing plates 2 door hooks
newspaper & aerosol can with good recess at the base, for seed pots
easy seedlings to try are: lettuce, beans, and annual flowers—start seeds in recycled clear plastic food trays (add drainage holes), then grow seedlings in newspaper pots
Alchemilla mollis, Digitalis purpurea, Dryopterisfilix-mas, and Primula vialii are planted underneath
Take ... >
Transform ordinary plastic gutters into an attractive and innovative growing space for a tasty, nutritious crop of salad shoots—a fun way to use vertical space for growing vegetables.
TIME IT RIGHT Sow dried peas and beans from spring through to fall. Protect emerging shoots from frost and freezing weather. If conditions are right, you can expect to be harvesting shoots in 4-6 weeks.
Measure the gutters to your desired lengths, mark with a pencil, then carefully cut to size using a hacksaw or handsaw.
To provide some drainage, drill small holes in the base of each length of gutter, roughly 29%in (75cm) apart, using an electric drill and relatively thin drill bit.
Loti of plants ha/e tasty young leaves... >
Make an eye-catching vertical display of plants that seem to float in the air. Tillandsia air plants get all their moisture and nutrients from the air, making them perfect for creating some living art.
TIME IT RIGHT Air plants aren’t frost hardy so make your living picture frame inside during late spring, which will give plants time to anchor onto the support wires. Put the frame outside for summer, bringing it back indoors in mid-fall.
A Rootless Life
Tillandsias are known as air plants because they are able to grow without soil, getting moisture and nutrients from the air through specially adapted leaves. Plants that are watered and fed well will reward you with flowers and new plants, which appear in the form of offsets or “pups... >
Easy to look after and, once rooted, happy growing vertically, succulents are a good choice for living pictures. Start your decorative display by using small succulent cuttings or offsets, then watch your picture grow and evolve over the seasons.
TIME IT RIGHT Plants will start to root quickly, but it will take 4-6 months for the frame to fill out and be completely covered. Do not plant in winter when succulents become dormant.
TOOLS & equipment
wooden box-style picture frame in 2 parts, ideally 2in (5cm) deep and with an overlapping front 4-6 strong metal hanging brackets electric drill & screws emulsion paint mixed 2:1 with PVA paintbrushes
clear marine varnish (optional) heavy-duty plastic liner & scissors exterior glue or staplegun tape mea... >
TOOLS & equipment
compass & pencil electric jigsaw
large piece of particle board round mirror
exterior wood paint & paintbrushes clear marine varnish (optional) greenhouse shading material craft knife staple gun
chopstick, dibber, or pencil
hairpins or florist mossing pins
garden wire & wire cutters
strong outdoor adhesive
nails & sturdy brass picture hook
approximately 50 cuttings or offsets from a range of succulent plants, choosing a mix of shape and color from the following genera: Echeveria Graptopetalum Pachyphytum Sedum
Using a compass and pencil and a jigsaw, cut a piece of particle board to the shape of your mirror, allowing a 634in (17cm) border all around... >