Metal containers can be recycled to make centerpiece table gardens, hanging baskets and patio containers. While they usually lack drainage, that can be corrected in a few minutes with a drill press and a titanium-coated high-speed drill bit. Recycling old metal containers keeps them out of landfills and creates eye-catching, themed plantings. Small and medium metal container gardens can be used as wedding-table centerpieces, while the larger metal washtubs add visual appeal to patio seating areas.
Large enamel washtubs have plenty of room for pizza, salsa or stone soup container gardens. You will have to drill six to 10 1/4-inch diameter drainage holes in the bottom of the largest enamel washtubs; four to six holes will be plenty for the smaller ones. Line the bottom with 1 or 2 inches of coarse river gravel, cover it with 2 to 4 inches of shredded tree prunings and another 2 inches of shredded newspaper. Fill the remainder with compost.
Enamel coffeepots, with or without lids, work well as hanging containers. Knock the strainer from inside the spout with a hammer and punch. Grasp a chicory plant gently by its roots and thread it through the opening in the strainer until the roots reach as close to the bottom of the pot as possible without losing the plant in the coffeepot. Fill the pot with compost.
Plant star anise seeds in the open pot and cover lightly with soil. Add three trailing chocolate mint plants over the handle. Ground star anise makes coffee taste like Sambuca, a colorless Italian liqueur made with star anise and white elderflower, explain the staff at Life in Italy.com. Dried chocolate mint turns your coffee into a "Grasshopper" if you add 3 tbsp. light cream. Hang your enamel coffeepot container garden from a shepherd's crook so it will swing in the breeze.
Citronella Candle Buckets
The small, colorful pails that hold patio-size citronella candles work well for centerpiece container gardens. Citronella is strong and can cause allergic reactions, so thoroughly clean the container before planting. You can place the empty candle bucket in the sun to melt any citronella residue, or fill it with hot, soapy water and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
You will have to drill three or four drain holes in the bottom of each bucket. Plant an amaryllis bulb, with half the bulb above the soil and 2 inches between the bulb and the sides of the container. Plant hen and chicks around the amaryllis bulb once it blooms.