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Originally published Friday, May 7, 2010 at 7:00 PM

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Turn your old junk into garden treasures

3 easy projects to give old chairs, wagons and watering cans new life as garden plant containers.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Are you a scavenger? If you are, maybe you'll be lucky enough to find a Radio Flyer stuffed into a city trash bin, as we did. It was old, rusty and could barely move. We grabbed it.

If not, you may want to hold on to some of your junk for your garden paths, patios and porches.

With the help of a garden center, the red wagon was transformed into a lavish garden centerpiece, filled with annuals, perennials and herbs.

You can personalize your garden with old junky items scavenged from basements, garage sales and flea markets. See what a little fresh paint, new blooms and even strawberries did to these old items.


Designer/garden center: Wendy Doan, garden stylist at For The Garden, St. Louis, Mo.

1. Cut center out of chair seat so pot can rest on the frame.

2. Spray paint chair and pot.

3. Plant large pot (we used a 12-inch clay pot plus smaller potted plants for the ladder part of the chair) filled with yellow sweet potato vine, red verbena, 'Tango Neon' purple geranium, Calibrachoa 'Dreamsickle,' Supertunia 'Royal Velvet' and premium potting soil

Price: $55 for soil, flowers and spray paint


Designer/garden center: Diane White, owner of White's Greenhouses, Godfrey, Mo.


1. Fill the bottom one-third of the can with crumpled plastic containers to improve drainage.

2. Fill the rest of the can with potting soil.

3. For height, plant a white caladium. For fullness, plant a dragon wing begonia and Torenia 'Blue Wave.'

4. To soften the look, plant asparagus fern to drape over the edge.

5. After planting, spread a slow-release fertilizer and then cover the soil with sphagnum moss for a finished look.

Price: $25 for soil, flowers, plants and fertilizer


Designer/garden center: Maria Mitchell, sales associate at Sugar Creek Gardens, St. Louis, created a fairy woodland garden

1. Drill holes in the wagon for drainage. Line with pebbles for additional drainage.

2. Fill wagon ½ full to ¾ full with Miracle Gro potting mix containing Osmocote.

3. Select miniature plants such as miniature conifers, pathway plants, herbs and small flowering perennials and annuals. Add fragrant flowers for bees and butterflies. Plants used: Dwarf Alberta spruce, Common Juniper, Paul's dwarf mugo pine, Digitalis 'Goldcrest,' English daisy, Sedum yunnanense, sweet Alyssum, Scotch moss, Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip' and Herniaria 'Sea Foam.'

4. Add accessories including a miniature cottage with a fence and gate, stones to terrace and create paths and colored glass to create a stream. Other items used: a miniature garden bench, chair, wheelbarrow, flower pot, beehive, birdhouse, birdbath, miniature bees, butterflies, ladybugs, birds, raccoon, a cat, a toad with a toadstool and, of course, fairies.

Price: $75 to $100 includes soil, flowers, fairies and accessories

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