Photo by Jessica Walliser
I transformed my grandmother’s favorite birdbath into a container for growing succulents and other plants year-round.
When my grandmother passed away 10 years ago, I became the proud owner of her favorite birdbath. It sits in the center of the perennial garden right next to our front steps. I have taken very good care of it over the years, brining the inside every winter to protect it from ice and snow and sealing it every few years to prevent it from cracking.
I haven’t been very good about keeping the birdbath clean enough for the birds, though. Because a large maple tree hangs over it, it’s perpetually filthy. It seems that no matter how often I scrub it out, an orange-colored mold develops in the water the very next day. I even tried putting a handful of lavender leaves in the water—a tip I read in a magazine a few years back that’s intended to keep bacteria from growing. Nothing seems to work.
So this year, I decided to convert my grandmother’s birdbath into a planter. Using a masonry bit, I drilled three holes in the bottom of the dish and filled it with good-quality potting soil. I planted a handful of succulents and a few other plants in it, selecting them because I know the dish is going to dry out frequently over the course of the summer. They look great! My hope is that the plants will spread and fill up the dish by the end of the season. I then plan to move the dish indoors for the winter and grow it as a houseplant in our front window. Then next spring, I’ll put the dish back on the pedestal in the garden.
I like that guests arriving at our front door no longer have a view of slimy birdbath water. Instead, they get to enjoy an interesting mix of textures and foliage colors that really adds interest to the garden.