How to Make Living Flower Pots (Ornamental Edible Gardening)
We took my daughter to the Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Garden in Columbia, SC last week. By that, I mean we spent 90% of our time at the zoo before running around the Botanical Garden for the last 10% like our pants were on fire. This is what happens to a gardener when the people with her are more interested in fauna than flora. I just couldn’t compete with the penguins and naked mole rats.
I think these almost look more like fauna than flora:
I like that they have kale growing out the top — these could be a good focal point for someone who enjoys edible landscaping. It would solve the problem of how to harvest your pretty edibles without leaving an ugly gap in the garden. Just create multiples on a staggered schedule and replace them as they get too big.
If you’re challenged for space or have shady summers, you can hang these from deciduous trees so they’ll get enough light in the winter.
I don’t know how Riverbanks made theirs, but here’s my version:
Materials needed: 2 coco plant pot liners, needle & heavy thread, ryegrass seed, potting soil, a pretty kale transplant, 3′ – 6′ hanging cord (to put it in the tree), and clay-consistency mud (you can buy it from a ceramics supply store or dig it up yourself — I think southern red clay would make an attractive “pot”)
- Cut a small (2″ diameter or less) hole in the bottom of one of the coco liners (this is where the kale plant will stick through)
- Sew the two coco liners together to make a solid sphere
- Fill the sphere up with potting soil and insert the kale transplant so that the leaves stick up out of the hole
- Make 2 tiny holes near the opening in the top to thread the hanging cord through
- Water well
- Mix ryegrass seed in the clay-like mud you use and then paint the outside of the sphere with a thick coating (so that you can no longer see the coco-ball)
- Hang it up and let the clay dry out slightly before watering (so that it doesn’t wash off)
I’d also use a little organic fertilizer for foliage growth.
If you prefer to try something less complicated you could make a plain grass ball out of an old, dark-colored sock. Fill the sock with potting soil and tie it closed (and cut off the excess fabric). Then you’d need to soak it until thoroughly moist, affix a hanging cord to the top, and coat it with the ryegrass/mud mixture. Make sure the clay has time to dry slightly before your next watering so the sock doesn’t show through. In theory, you’d never know it was a sock.
If anyone has an idea of how the botanical garden got a soil clod to hang suspended with no support, let me know. Maybe they have enough resources to replace them every time it rains. In the meantime, I think these two methods would be a more reliable way not to end up with soggy plops under your tree that look like landscaped ant hills.