Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sap Buckets

It's been spitting fine snow all day. No accumulation, just misty stuff in the air that is actually white and crystalline. How many variations on snow can winter come up with this year?

Here's a decorating challenge. I received two vintage sap buckets for Christmas. Hope and Steve found them and gave them to me to use as planters in my garden.

They are wonderful old metal buckets, washed with a yellow green paint and rusted, that were actually used to collect maple sap years ago before plastic buckets came into use. I love them.

Since Christmas they have been stored away, waiting for spring when I can plant them up. I have so many ideas for how to use them.

But if I use them as planters, I'll have to drill a drainage hole in the bottom. Even if I use them as liners with plants inside another pot, I need drainage if they are going to be outside in the rain.

When used for their real purpose -- collecting sap -- they have metal hats that keep the rain out. Used as planters a lid wouldn't work, so they'll need to drain. I really don't want to drill holes in these great old pails.

I could keep them out of the rain and still use them as planters if I put them on the screened porch where they would be out of the elements. But the porch is small and there isn't really room to display these buckets well -- if I tuck a container plant in a corner of the porch, you'd never see the pail.

So I'm increasingly thinking of using them in the house. Dried arrangements could be displayed in them and I can put the buckets where they could be seen. They are too big to be used on a table, but I could find floor space for them.

Flowering forced branches would look rustic standing in a sap bucket on the floor. Big dried stalks of faded panicle hydrangeas would look nice too, and my one remaining 'Tardiva' hydrangea produces tons of sturdy flowerheads that I can cut next summer. I even found some old silk hydrangea blossoms I had that are oddly blue and red.

The sap buckets were given as a garden gift -- a thoughtful idea to make a really interesting planter. But I think I am going to use them inside for other things.

Ya think?

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