Wooden tubs, long lasting when treated to resist decay, hold moisture well. They also keep out the heat of the sun, preventing overheating of soil. Then, too, wood, substantial and solid in appearance, is well suited to formal or informal gardens.
Barrels, oldtime standbys, are always excellent. Unless you prefer the full barrel shape, simply cut off the top at the desired height. Then bore holes at the bottom and paint the inside with a wood preservative. If the hoops are galvanized, they will not rust; if not, they will. To prevent this, apply oil or paint outside of the barrel. Hoops, which tend to slip, can be secured with nails.
Wooden boxes are becoming more and more the thing for the modern terrace. Varying in size and shape, large units are planted with trees, shrubs, and vines. The smaller sizes are allotted to perennials, herbs, and bulbs. Long planter boxes, intended for terraces, walks or driveways, can be filled with evergreens and blooming plants. When flowers-petunias, wax begonias or dwarf geraniums-are massed in large, low boxes they give the containers the look of garden beds.
Black locust, osage orange, and chestnut are other woods that do not rot if left untreated. To prevent boxes from resting directly on solid surfaces and thus stopping good drainage, raise them on short lifts or legs. Better still are wheels, for then the boxes can be pushed about.
Make Your Own
When possible, construct boxes to fit your needs. For example, a long, narrow box can be built for the driveway area adjacent to the house. If raised a few feet, it will be easier to care for. For that matter, you can make the box in units that are small enough to be easily moved and stored in winter.
Long boxes can be constructed for the front of the house to give interest and avoid the monotony of the traditional foundation planting. Or modular boxes of the same size can be arranged in a row for a pleasant effect. You can also make boxes of special shapes and sizes to fit around your swimming pool, on your terrace, or in front of a fence or tool house. Planters are also well adapted to small city or rooftop gardens.
In some instances, boxes can be tiered in front of a
house or along a garage or fence for the sake of variety. A
large box, with a shade or flowering tree, can give accent
to a terrace or a doorway. Best of all, plant boxes can
serve to guide traffic in the garden and through the outdoor living area. Some gardeners also like to maintain two or more sets of boxes to replace those with plants past their prime. This plan gives the gardener the fullest value from his portable garden.