Urban Gardening with Style

Okay, I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of industrial, obviously-city modern garden themes. I’m not a big fan of modernism in general. I like things that are old and have stories behind them. But these things can be found in the urban enviroment as well. But the thing about city living is, you’re more likely to find some abandoned cinder blocks than chic rusted wheelbarrows. So what do we do with this urban refuse? Plant things! Here are some humble suggestions:

The ubiquitous cinder block– these can be used to create raised beds or borders. I think they look even better when you put additional plants into the holes (stack them with the holes facing up). Succulents look especially fetching, and vining flowering plants soften the look a bit.

Curved ceramic roof tiles– makes a nice decorative border or trough-style planter for succulents or ground-cover-type plants like creeping thyme.

Discarded appliances– the sky’s the limit here- take out all of the electrical components and fill it (whatever it is) with dirt. I think a tv terrarium would be especially cool.

Discarded personal shopping carts– line it with burlap and fill it with dirt. Plant something pretty in the top, then along the sides cut slashes in the burlap every few squares of wire or so and plant stuff in the sides, strawberry-pot-style.

Metal or pvc pipe– You can create trellises, decorative fencing or hanging basket stands by screwing or glueing it together.

Scrap lumber (if you’re pulling this off a job site, make sure it’s clearly in/near the dumpster–  you want the scraps, not stealing framing materials!)– sky’s the limit here too. You can build raised beds, planters, window boxes, fences, or trellis frames, just to name a few.

And the night before trash day, you’re likely to find a lot more treasures– as always, put your imagination to work to use this stuff in new ways in the garden. People will often put still useable stuff next to or on top of the dumpsters instead of in with the yuckies, which I think is nice. Reduce, reuse, recycle– urban style! And what better way to outfit your city digs than with city stuff?

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