February 11th, 2012


The Container Of My Dreams

So we have this eyesore on the property.

No, it’s not the beagle. I can understand why you’d think that, though.

Nor is it the chainlink fence surrounding the backyard, which doesn’t bother me all that much—some day I’ll get vines trained over every inch of it and it will be a wall of Generalized Green Gloriousness. (Wild grape, Virginia creeper, Dutchman’s pipe and American bittersweet. It’s got a ways.)

No, it’s the little meter and the alarm for the septic system. It’s on a short post smack in the middle of one of my flowerbeds (septic systems can tolerate a flower garden over top of the tank, but I wouldn’t plant any of the claybuster prairie plants, although granted there’s a freakin’ OAK TREE right there, I suspect my little plants are the least of our worries, root-wise.)

You can’t put something over this little meter, because there’s a red flashy light and you kinda want to be able to see that if the system has backed up and is about to explode. But it’s definitely not a delightful addition to the view.

I’ve been hoping to get a very tall container for it. You know the kind–about four and a half feet tall, sort of vase shaped. I wanted it glazed in blue, ideally. I would stick the container in front of this meter, and then we wouldn’t be able to see it from the deck or the master bedroom, but if the red light goes off, it’d still be pretty obvious. (It’s a big light. There will be visual splash.)

This was a great plan, right up until I went to price big ceramic pots.

Sheeeee-yit, as they say around here.

Most of them were too short and still cost over a hundred bucks. A couple of them were tall, but also enormously wide, and hitting closer to the $400 mark. There were a few that were pretty close to what I wanted, but the wrong color, and wandering over the $250 price range.

Needless to say, I choked. I am willing to spend quite a lot on the garden, as it is my primary hobby, exercise, and spiritual pursuit, but I like to spread it out a lot more. $20 on a shrub is a lot in my world, and while I might drop a hundred at the nursery, I better get a carload of plants when I do. The cost of one of those pots would plant out an entire bed. I went home empty-handed and feeling a little queasy in the general area of the wallet.

I eventually stuck a lawn flamingo in front of the post. This did absolutely nothing to disguise the problem, but at least the question became “Why do you have a flamingo in front of that ugly thing?” instead of “What is that ugly thing?” and in life, we make some compromises.

And then, yesterday I was out and about, and I figured I’d stop by HomeGoods. HomeGoods is a discount furnishing place, and mostly a pit, but occasionally you can find a good deal there. They had all their spring garden stuff in, and while most of it is tacky lawn ornaments, they also sometimes have large pots cheaper than anywhere else, and I was hoping to do some more container gardening this year.

So I turned a counter, idly checking price tags on the clearance section—couple of cracks in the bottom of this one, price is pretty good, I wonder if those would actually break under stress, or if I could slide a terracotta saucer in there—and there it was. The container of my dreams. The tall blue-glazed, nearly chest high vase-shaped pot that was EXACTLY what I’d been wanting for that space.

It was $90, which is still a helluva lot to spend on a pot in my world, but compared to staring grimly at the septic meter, it was a price I was increasingly willing to pay, and it was running about 1/3rd the price of anywhere else I’d gone. I got it home, Kevin dragged it into position, and it is perfect.

Eventually I will fill it with—oh, crushed cans or bottles or something—to about two-thirds full, dump in some gravel and cover it over with potting soil. There is really no point in filling a pot that size with potting soil all the way down unless you plan to put an oak tree in it, and my plans are for a sedge–something nice and sculptural and grass-like and semi-evergreen—but for the moment I am just thrilled that I actually finally found something for that spot.

So! Err—victory! And also check out HomeGoods, I guess, while they’re still stocking pots for the next couple of months.

Now to find a new place for the lawn flamingo…

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.