Making Lemonade

For those of you who have visitied Chanticleer in the last few years, you may remember a grand vessel, a Turkish oil jar looming in the courtyards. In a rare display of restraint, I have avoided planting this wonderful piece. For one thing, I couldn’t decide which of the many plants I work with that was worthy of this preeminent stage. Secondly, to fill a vessel as large as this one would require a soil mass likely in excess of 500 pounds…dry. So, empty it stood. The nice thing about it being empty was its mobility. Season to season, it would reappear in other areas: as feature, as focal point, as foil. Well, ths spring, upon its emergence into the garden, disaster struck. In a move I had done dozens of times before, a carefully choreographed dance to move this pot, I lost control of it and down it went. It didn’t crack. It didn’t shatter. It nearly vaporized in a cloud of dust, imploding upon its own substantial weight.

Never to lessen the severity of the day’s event, but like the towers as they fell that fateful day. Well, one can cry over spilt terra cotta, or one can work with it.

Interestingly enough, the very base of the vessel had retained a bit of its cone like shape. As the scale of the pot was so large to begin with, this remaining opportunity was larger than most get to plant with a new pot. Cool season annuals, some architectural foliage and gravel mulch combine to form the last combination this pot will hold. Likely not even all season, but at least until the grieving process is finished. My professional version of sitting shiva.

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12 Responses to Making Lemonade

  1. our friend Ben April 22, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    Great post, Dan!!! I, and I’m sure every gardener, can sympathize, whether they just lost a gazing ball to a high wind (me) or their cat in a once-in-a-lifetime move sent a priceless Pueblo pot sailing off the coffee table (also me). Grieving is indeed the word. But you’ve created something wonderful from the ruins, and that’s an inspiration to us all! Thrilled to see you here on Gardening Gone Wild.

  2. Steve Silk April 22, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    Hey Dan! Nice to see you on GGW and glad to know your awesome adventures in container making continue. Broken pots can be fun; I have a friend who created a whole vignette with shatttered and chipped pots–looks like an archaeologial ruin. Hope to get down to Chanticleer at least once this season.

  3. Nancy Bond April 22, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    You certainly did make lemonade from a lemon of a situation! I like this planting very much!

  4. Phillip April 22, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    Very creative! I love it.

  5. Pam/Digging April 22, 2008 at 11:26 am #

    Great solution, Dan. Your dish planter has plenty of pizzazz. I hope it lasts longer than you expect.

  6. Robin (Bumblebee) April 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    Fabulous. Why just throw it away? I have routinely seen cracked clay vessels wired together to keep them intact.

    You’ve given me another good reason not to plant a similar container I purchased last summer while vacationing in NC. I think I’ll just keep it as an architectural element and move it about.

    Thanks!

    Robin at Bumblebee

  7. Saxon Holt April 22, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    Nice to see you posting Dan. Now will you break some other pots and put them in “The Ruins” at Chanticleer? Would fit in nicely…

  8. Nancy J. Ondra April 22, 2008 at 2:15 pm #

    The container as it was will be missed, but the remains look great too. Thanks for sharing the story, Dan. Welcome to the GGW team!
    -Nan

  9. Lisa at Greenbow April 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm #

    Oh my. This frightens me. I have a huge pot that I also move around in the garden. I sure hope I don’t ever do this. Your Lemonade sure looks lovely.

  10. Jan April 25, 2008 at 8:19 am #

    What a great way to turn a disaster into something unique and interesting.

    Jan Always Growing

  11. Joan Phillips April 29, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    Your story is part of the reason my garden is my solace. To grieve over a loss, and find that there is always renewal in Nature, to go with it, and find beauty again rising from “the ashes”. Beauty to soothe all wounds.

  12. fsorin May 9, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    You always were a bit clumsy.

    Chris Woods