Garden Urn: To plant or not to plant

Bamateacha(z8)June 18, 2008

I've added a garden urn as a focal point in a garden as suggested by one of you wise gardeners. I love the urn. My question is for those of you who have a garden urn placed somewhere in your garden: Do you plant in the urn or leave it empty just to enjoy the urn itself? And, if you do plant in it, what plants have you used?

If you want to show us your garden urn, I'd love to see it. :)

-Sharon

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duluthinbloomz4

No pictures, but this year I added a tall classic form urn as the focal point of my almost "secret garden". I made a 12" plinth out of some decorative brick I had to give it additional height over the plants around it. Empty it's just a nice urn, so I planted it with a large red geranium, a spike, both red and white trailing petunias, and some ivy.

We've had a cold, wet spring - annuals have been a little slow to take off, but they're starting now.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 10:21AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

If my memory serves me right someone posted a picture of an urn planted with Chlorophytum (Spider Plant) in an earlier post, I thought it was lovely. Maybe Nell?
Annette

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 1:01PM
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Nell Jean

I showed an urn of sorts with Spider Plant recently in a 'Secret Garden' post.

I had spider plant in urns next to some steps last year. I put some angel wing begonias in with them.
Begonias had not started growing in this early summer photo. This year, I just have the big begonias.

Nell

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 3:10PM
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fammsimm(Z8 DFW)

Bama,

Have you thought about turning your urn into a fountain? I have seen some decorative urns and pots that were really stunning as a water feature.

I wish I could remember where I saw examples of this!!

Marilyn

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:45PM
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Nell Jean

Here's some other year, with angel wing begonias.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2008 at 5:51PM
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mycalicogirls(4b-5a Nebraska)

I, too, am considering a large urn as a garden focal point and was wondering whether to plant it. My concern is the lack of drainage holes in them. It is very windy where I live and I think only a concrete one will stay in place, thus no drilling holes. How does one deal with this? I have seen lovely sedum collections in them in garden magazines, but is it practical? We can get thunderstorms with inches of rain in one night that must be considered. Molly

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 5:14PM
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duluthinbloomz4

I see a lot of cast resin urns at the big boxes - about 1/3 the price charged at garden centers for the same thing. Some of them are quite nice and look very stone-like. They generally have a drainage hole with a pull out plug. And filed with dirt, plus the added weight of waterings, only a tornado would topple them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2008 at 6:47PM
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Bamateacha(z8)

Do those cast resin items last? I have one or two things and they seemed to chip paint after a season or two. I quit buying resin stuff after that. Does it last for you guys?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 7:38AM
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Bamateacha(z8)

Do those cast resin items last? I have one or two things and they seemed to chip paint after a season or two. I quit buying resin stuff after that. Does it last for you guys?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 7:39AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Cast resin was at the tip of my brain when I posted - that can be problematic when not properly sealed and water seeps in. Think some of the newer products out there are a composition with a very high stone content in the finish. They're supposed to wear like stone but have the added benefit of being lighter weight. Anyone who's tried to lift a large stone or cast iron piece knows it's not always easy.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:11AM
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mycalicogirls(4b-5a Nebraska)

Hey, Duluthinbloomz4, are you in Duluth, Minnesota? I've just moved to the Rochester area from Omaha (zone5)and am looking for any tips or suggestions on gardening in this colder zone. Molly

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 11:21AM
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duluthinbloomz4

Yes indeed, Duluth, MN, on the shores of the greatest of the Great Lakes! You'll be surprised and amazed what does beautifully here and that we're not plant deprived - maybe the conditions aren't tooo different from Omaha's. I don't fuss and winter protect things, they have to survive on their own. But, I don't zone push (stay in zone 4 or lower) and really don't go for anything too unusual in the way of perennials - stick with daylilies, oriental, Asiatic, true tiger lilies, tall garden phlox, oriental poppies, nepetas, veronicas, peonies, lilacs, balloon flowers, the northern grown azaleas, ferns, sedums, astilbe, hostas (which can take full sun here), the old tried and true coral bells, trollius, dianthus. I make use of a lot of volunteers that blew in from somewhere - Johnny Jump-Ups, Aquilegia Canadensis, forget-me-nots, Bouncing Bet, Siberian Squill...

You'll have fun. Lived out East for many years and always thought the summer heat was a bigger gardening challenge - everything exploded in the spring then would be burned out by the 4th. of July.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 2:55PM
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ianna(Z5b)

I would plant urns but be cautioned to get a large urn. In warmer weather though, small iron urns will heat up far too much for plants. There are so many iron types out there and many are just more decorative rather than useful for planting.

Concrete urns can work if large enough. You can place layers of gravel stones for drainage purposes so the soil sits in the top 2 third layer.

With regards to resin types - Don't bother. It does deteriorate over time. I have bought some over the years, hoping that these would last. Frankly, my terracotta pots lasted longer.

Ianna

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:09PM
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Nell Jean

My urns with the airplane plants/begonias are pottery, painted clay imported from Mexico by the Iron Lady, who sells garden pretties.
They've stood up well to the elements, but they're fragile in the hands of a rough gardener and break easily when they are being moved.
Gorilla Glue repaired the broken pieces of the pedastal bottoms.

Nell

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 3:19PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

A tip I use is to buy several plastic pots which will fit into my terra cotta planters. That way you can change the display seasonally without having to replant the urn/pot itself. Just lift out the spent plants and pop in the new ones. For example I have two chimney pots flanking a doorway in a shady place. In winter they contain box balls and variegated ivy trailing down. In spring they have miniature daffodils. Then tulips. By the time the trees have leafed out and the shade has deepended the box balls go back in for a couple of weeks and then it's fuchsias or busy lizzies.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 2:25PM
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traceyc

Hi Bama, I'm so excited because I think it was my suggestion you may have acted on in regards to the urn...

the reason I thought of it for your spot near the new wall was because I have one myself. I've also ummed and ahhed over whether to put something in....for five years! Mine is cement and the problem is that when it's really hot over summer trying to keep anything from frying in it is a real concern.

I thought about turning it into a water fountain but it's not near enough to electricity/water.

But recently I visited an open garden and saw an urn planted up with some kind of succulent - I don't even know what it is, but really like the look of it. Can anyone enlighten me? I'm seriously considering trying it in mine, as I think having something hardy there will really provide the garden with some interest over winter when the plants are all dormant around it.

Anyway, photos of mine (empty) and the succulent one below

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 9:40PM
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keesha2006(5)

nice nice chicks...looks like hundreds...:)

I "inherited" a large grocery box of hens and chicks this year.....Funny story actually. We had a family picnic and after the last car left, which happened to be my daughters, my cell phone rang. I went to answer it, and she said, mom...in the middle of your front lawn there is a large box of hens and chicks...do you know how it go there? I said nope..are you sure? Doubting her eyesight a bit, after all, how would they get in my yard during a party? I went out and looked and sure enough..a large box of nice sized hens and chicks...I sure wondered....it was not where anyone parked...smack in the middle of the front lawn....I waited a week, kept them moist, no one claimed them so I said ok..they are mine...still wondering how they got there....did I have some mystery drop from a fellow garden admirer? Was it like dumping kittens or puppies near a farm? My curiousity was peaked. But I planted them anyway..and about two weeks later, mystery solved. My other daughter recalled overhearing a conversation from my mom to another sister that she had a box in her car of hens and chicks for her. I laughed, thinking of the hens and chicks roosting in my garden now that should of been in hers. I am guessing mom set them down on her way to the house with her hands full and forgot about them.....finders keepers...sis will have to get her own now.. :) Anyway..nice chicks and nice urn too. I have two...resin (which I would not buy again, fell apart in two years) I have Mandella vine in.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 10:29PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Traceyc - Hen and chickens are various kinds of Sempervivum. If you look up that name you should find more information. Also called house leeks.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 1:08PM
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