Landscaping with chimney flue liner
Radio interview source: John Begeman, urban horticulture agent, University of Arizona
Want unique, tough planters that don't look like everyone else's? Go to a brick supplier, get some clay chimney flue liners, and let the creativity flow. I'm always on the hunt for imaginative ways to display plants outside. I see a lot of homes with the same old round pots, often the same size, and lined up like soldiers. Give me variety! (Look below for links to more creative containers, like the wire wastebaskets pictured here.)
One way to beat a ho-hum approach is to look up your chimney. Extension Horticulture Agent John Begeman with the University of Arizona says flue liners make great planters! Go to a masonry or building supply store and they'll have them readily available.
He says you can get rectangular, square, or round flues, ranging from 8 inches to 24 inches in diameter, and 1 to 5 feet in length.
They're generally less expensive than terra-cotta pots, ranging in price from $7 to $15. You can paint them, too. The flue liners have a glazed exterior so all you have to do is rough them up a bit with sandpaper so the paint will stick.
When you're ready to plant, fill the liners with gravel for drainage and that way, they won't crack when they freeze. Leave about eight inches open at the top to add potting soil. You can also set plastic pots on top of the flue liners. Later, you'll be able to bring the containers indoors.
Use the liners for an herb garden or as a border for other landscaped areas.
"You could do a grouping of three or five or you could just have an individual clay flue liner sitting up with a plant or plants planted inside," Begeman says. "Or set an attractive paver on top and set your container plant and use it as a pedestal rather than planting in it."
Wave petunias, English ferns, and other cascading plants are perfect for that because they'll be up off the ground and sitting on a solid base.
You can use chimney flue liners below ground, too. They're great for taming plants like mint, which will take over your yard if it gets the chance. Simply sink several liners into the ground at various depths. The square shape will allow you to attractively place these "mint columns" flush against one another. By staggering the heights, you can keep plants separate and prevent them from growing into one another.
Low-cost planters from everyday objects: No need to spend big money on fancy planters. You can create beautiful containers from items you already have.
Beyond the ordinary flowerpot: Browse this slideshow for unique container gardening ideas.
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