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Step by step instructions for transforming an unusual container


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Container Garden Transformation
Finished succulent container garden in a purse

Elegant Container Garden

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

I love planting in unusual containers. I love hunting for them, I love that they are usually cheap and I love figuring out how best to plant them. I spied this evening bag in a thrift store for three dollars and simply couldn’t resist it.

Because it isn’t waterproof, I realize that it probably won’t last for more than a season or two, but in turning it into a planter, I want to maximize how long it will last, but I’m even more concerned that it will look good for at least a whole season.

To this end, I realized I would have to protect the inside of the purse and figure out a way for the water to get out of the bag, while minimizing how wet the bag would get. I also didn’t want to see the drainage hole.

I also knew I wanted to plant this purse with succulents. I adore succulents and thought their strange and beautiful textures and colors would contrast well with the smooth, shiny surface of the bag. Succulents are also shallow-rooted so I didn’t have to worry about the small size of the bag, and the fact that they don’t need all that much water, will also help the bag last.

I used a similar technique for planting pink patent leather stilettos and it can be adapted to change many other thrift store finds into containers.

For more info about succulents check out Debra Lee Baldwin's website and my review of her book,

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