Barrels of flora

“Wine is poetry in a bottle.”
~ Clifton Fadiman, American editor and author (1904-1999)

Some might say wine is poetry in a barrel, and I could say the same for plants.

I’ve had success growing a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and dwarf-sized trees planted in wine barrels in my garden at home and at The Bard’s Garden at Hanley Farm. (Shakespeare also mentioned barrels a few times in his works, including a “beer barrel” in “Hamlet”). The aged oak and metal rings of a wine barrel create a rustic look, and I like the fact that I’m growing plants in a unique container that reflects Southern Oregon’s wine culture and my own enthusiasm for wine.

Keep in mind that hot summer sun like the Rogue Valley has been experiencing lately dries out container plants faster than those planted in the ground, so be sure to increase watering as needed. Now is a particularly good time to keep mulch around your container plants, but be sure to add mulch to soil that is already moist.

Local resident Heide Seeman also enjoys growing plants in wine barrels, and recently shared a brilliant way to protect wine barrel gardens from frost with a clear plastic umbrella. Here’s what Heide wrote:

“Since we do have late frosts, I have this magic trick with clear umbrellas. I cut off the handles and bought pieces of copper pipe about 20 inches long, just big enough in diameter to hold the umbrella.

I stick the copper pieces into the middle of the barrel, but leave about 4-5 inches above the soil.

If it gets too warm during the day, I can pull the umbrella up a bit and hook the opening and closing mechanism on the umbrella stem onto a copper pipe to hold the umbrella just a bit above the rim so air can circulate. The umbrella easily adjusts to tilting as well.”

Thanks, Heide! I think this is a great idea for growing winter greens!

Wine barrel garden with clever cover!

Here are a few pictures of plants I’m growing in wine barrels:

Myers lemon tree


Artemisia 'Powis Castle'

Pygmy date palm

Once I started looking for them, I’ve been finding wine barrel gardens everywhere!

Gazania, candytuft and other flowers in Bandon

Pretty pelargoniums in Bandon

Dwarf tree planting in Jacksonville

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