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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Whiskey Barrel

Do you have a whiskey barrel planter in your garden? Are these planters just common in the United States or are they all over the world?

Whiskey barrel's make wonderful, economic planters in the garden. They are very long lived and around here if you shop carefully you can find them for $19.99.

You definitely get what you pay for, I've seen whiskey barrels for $14.99 but the slats were broken and the metal ring that holds it all together was pretty flimsy. I've also seen them for $39.99 but to be honest, I didn't see much difference between those and the ones I bought at Home Depot for $19.99

If you want to purchase a whiskey barrel planter for your garden there are some things you need to know. Don't wear new clothing to the store. These barrels often have charred interiors and some rust on the rings. Because of the size of them you will end up hugging them against your body at some point.

Bring gloves too, your hands will get dirty and you won't want to grab your steering wheel afterwards. If you have a companion who will go to the store with you, take them along. Many times these barrels are stacked quite high and you will need help to take them apart. Finally, don't forget a large tarp in the back of your vehicle to protect your interior.

When you get your barrel home you will need a drill with a large bit so you can make some sizable drainage holes at the bottom. Think carefully about where you'll place your barrel, once it's full it's too heavy to move around the garden.

I have three whiskey barrels in my garden. They are all filled with perennials which overwinter quite well in the containers.


Not one of these photos shows a whiskey barrel in my own garden, they were all shot in other gardens. To tell the truth, I failed with my own barrel. I've had one in front of my house for years. It's tipped on an angle so it looks like the plant material is spilling out. Yet, it never looks good enough for me to photograph. I know that for sure because I just spent a half hour looking for a photo of it!

My goal is to take my barrel, remove the hosta from it, tip it all the way on the side and start all over again so it looks like the barrel in the opening shot. This time I'll take pictures.

Do you have a photo of a great whiskey barrel planting? Leave a link here so we can come visit and see what you've done.

26 comments:

Nichole said...

I think you've inspired a trip to home depot!

Jane Marie said...

I like whiskey barrels. Mine recently bit the dust and I was hesitant to buy new ones. I have read some comments that they are cliche and out of fashion. Thanks to you I've decided to go with my heart and shop for barrels again this year.

Lola said...

Lowe's has the resin kind for 29.99. I have 3 of them & I think they will last a long time. In fact I plan to get some more as I can't get down to garden so I bring the garden up to me.

Nancy J. Bond said...

You often see barrels in gardens here in Nova Scotia, as well. I like your very much!

Dave said...

I always get some new ideas whenever I come by your site. That first picture of the barrel on its side is a pretty cool idea! It looks very rustic. I don't have any yet over here but maybe soon I will! :)

sisah said...

I also like the idea of "recycling" old barrels and use them as planters. But I have never seen whisky or wine barrels for such a price you mention here in Germany.
I just "googled" and found prices from 140 to 300 € for half a barrel (wine or whisky barrels) of 500 liters. They are also used for all sorts in gardens here: collecting rain-water, as planters, mini-ponds for waterlilies and so on.
Instead of a wooden barrel, I have an old copper barrel, which I use as a planter. And as you I am not really content with the result of my planting compositions, so I appreciate your suggestions.
LG
Sisah

N. & J. said...

I just started growing vegetables in barrels. The nice thing is that Home Depot has them in a variety of sizes so you don't have to buy the huge one to get the same look.

Georgiagirl said...

http://gagirl46.blogspot.com/2008/04/whiskey-barrel-pictures-for-melanie.html

I have planted veggies for years in barrels with lots of success.

Mine finally fell apart and I replaced them with plastic tubs but after seeing the pictures and reading your post .. I'm heading to town ..lol

these are at my mother in law's and are just beautiful.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Hey melanie .. I thought you were up to your elbows in dirt today woman ? .. whiskey barrels are very common in Canada too .. just part of the heritage we share with you guys down south of our border.
I wonder if it has anything to do with "rum running" ? LOL .. I know .. that is rum .. not whiskey .. but hey .. there is a connection some where .. I'm sure !
Joy

Gail said...

melanie,

The whiskey barrels from around here still smell of whiskey, it's very fragrant!

No whiskey barrels but broken pots that I half bury in the ground and let plants grow out of them.

Gail

Brenda Kula said...

I don't have a whiskey barrel planter. But your entry did remind me of something I hadn't recalled in many years. When my daughters were little, their cat had kittens in one!
Brenda

Lin in zone 9a said...

Your post reminded me of all the barrel planters I've had over the years. I don't have any right now, but immediately my mind started running through possible locations in my garden that could use one. Besides being an inexpensive planter, it's a great way to add some interest/height to an area.

Wish I'd read this earlier, I was just at Lowe's & Home Depot today buying herbs. Good reason---not that I need one---to make another trip. ;=)

Meems said...

Gee-all this talk of whiskey barrels brings back memories. I had some of them many, many years ago and they long since fell apart. Maybe they are readily available up north but I don't see them down here anymore.The ones I used to have were quite wonderful- they drain really well and I liked their natural appeal. I'll have to see if I can rummage up some old photos- they'd have to be scanned it was so long ago.

garden girl said...

I've had them at two previous houses. I've never bought a barrel - they were already there when the homes were purchased, and I always kept them planted. They had such a nice aged patina on them. Seeing the new ones in stores was a bit of a disappointment. It probably doesn't take long outside to get that nice, mellow aged look though.

Thanks for the inspiration Melanie! I especially like the barrel tipped on its side with impatiens spilling out of it. I might have to look for one next time I go to Home Depot or Lowes.

sisah said...

Melanie, as suggested here is the link to my barrel: http://meingartenimfliesstal.blogspot.com/2008/04/whiskyfass-und-ksebottich.html
Sisah

Viooltje said...

Awesome ideas and wonderful photos, as usual. By the way, there's an award waiting for you @ my place.

Cheers!

Cinj said...

I have 3 whisky barrels. They're the best planters IMO. I just have to lug the other two over from my other house yet. I could just leave them and buy a new one, but WHY? I've seen them on their side before, I just LOVE that look. Maybe I'll do that when/if the ones I have start to fall apart. I guess I already have plenty of shade here now though....

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I just love that first photo, and I can't wait to see what you do with yours.~~Dee

Anna--Flowergardengirl said...

No, I don't have a whiskey barrel but this is the new California( piedmont of NC) and they shouldn't be too hard to find. I'm now in wine country. No clue what they cost. They call me the container queen so I know I can figure out what to put inside. Those are awesome photos! Wait till you see what I'm up to this weekend;)

Phil The Gardener said...

Great pictures of whiskey barrel planters.

Amy said...

These barrels are very popular where I live and can be bought with the holes already drilled, at various home improvement stores. I bought my first one last year and just love it - I want more!

Heather's Garden said...

I love my barrel, I filled mine with herbs. You can read about it here: http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/2007/07/i-love-me-my-he.html

I can't wait to get my hands dirty and switch the herbs around 20 times this year!

My3 said...

Love the last picture. It looks like a fountain. I am most inspired to start one this year. My husband bought one a few years ago and we had no clue what to do with it after we got it home :-)

Andrew Jones said...

Really nice, these whiskey barrels enhances the beauty of the garden like anything.They look obviously very preety.Your do's & dont's regarding the barrell are very appreciable.One can get a detailed knowledge about these barrels right from choosing to their installation in the garden.These photos looks quite refrehing & natural
and these barrels will definitely attract many interior designers to cash on it.Well these whiskey are also quite tasty and they make even more better with some
Cuban Cigars.

Anonymous said...

I LIVE IN CERULEAN KY. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIND SOME FOR MYSELF & WHERE I WORK SO WE CAN SELL THEM. I HAVE PEOPLE COMING IN ALL THE TIME WANTING TO BUY THEM. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE I COULD GET ONE HERE.

Anonymous said...

I like that I have control of the soil that I put in and that the gophers are denied. I planted some geraniums that I bought fof $1 and they are amazing a year later! I also plant herbs and strawberries in the barrels. Setting up a drip or other such automatic watering makes them really amazing, I have yet to do this myself. Also, the dogs don't walk on the plants in the barrels!