By Julie Hawley

Container gardens and flower pots have been part of our landscape for as long as people have been cultivating plants. There are pictures in ancient writings of potted plants among the people and animals. Remember the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? While these have never been proven to exist, they are clearly in our imaginations and myths.

Today’s planters have reached a whole new level. We build raised vegetable garden beds using lumber forms. Hanging baskets grace Main Street light poles throughout the country. Massive flower pots of all shapes and sizes adorn entryways, porches and decks. Window box planters spill forth colorful masses of blooms.

Now huge terra cotta planters have been largely replaced by lightweight pots of many different designs and colors. Gardeners plant flowers in old milk cans, wheelbarrows, chairs, most anything that can hold soil. Planters are built into decks and trellises. I have seen a fence that holds masses of flowers. Even plumbing accessories are used as planters!

At our house and cabin, the favorite planters are old oak whiskey barrels that have been cut in half. The two at home are full of herbs and sit in front of the garage near the kitchen door. At the cabin, two barrels frame the front deck, overflowing with New Guinea impatiens, coleus and begonias.

Last week while visiting one garden on the Botany Belles and Beaus Garden Club tour, I saw a planter that would be perfect at our place in the woods. It was a large hollowed out log about six to seven feet long. The log was filled with colorful flowers; I can’t really remember what kind as I was so enthralled with the planter itself. The planter formed a beautiful, rustic edge to a vegetable garden.

Yes, planters come in many shapes and sizes. There is a perfect planter for any space, occasion or purpose. For me, I know exactly what to do and where to put the next big log we harvest from the woods after a blow down.  I will say I hope it happens soon:)

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