Monday, 15 May 2017

Half-barrel Planter for our Palm Tree...

We've quite a large Trachycarpus Fortunei palm which used to reside in a ceramic planter, but the roots had outgrown the space and it had become potbound.  In addition, the planter was not very wide at the base, with the result that the palm would frequently blow over in strong winds.

To give the roots more room to grow, and to provide a much more stable platform against high winds, we decided to put the palm into a half barrel.

The local garden centre sells old oak half barrels for £25, but I found an old knackered one for a fiver that had been used as a mini-pond for goldfish.   

as purchased ...

The bottom of the barrel was hanging out and needed refitting and some reinforcement, but the rest of the treatment we gave the barrel we would also have done even if we'd bought one in better condition.

After repairing the base and cleaning the barrel, I drilled drainage holes in the bottom and then painted the steel hoops with Hammerite.  I wanted to give the paint on the hoops time to harden sufficiently so we could apply masking tape to it when painting the exterior wood surfaces.

I drilled and tapped three old golf balls and fitted them to the base planking using M8 screws, to provide feet to raise the barrel off the ground.  This makes it easier to move around because we can get our hands underneath for lifting.

The underside of the barrel was then painted with black bitumen paint.

golf ball feet fitted and the underside painted ...

When this had dried, it was turned the right way up and the insides were also painted with several coats of bitumen.

inside, showing bottom repair and bitumen paint ...

Finally, the exterior wooden surfaces were given a few coats of garden furniture paint.

ready for planting ....

The barrel was then carried around to the back, close to the palm.  We made up a potting medium from a mix of old & new compost plus lots of sharp sand, and brought it around in the wheelbarrow. 

The Trachycarpus Fortunei was moved into the barrel, and then we also re-potted our largest Trachycarpus Wagnerianus into the planter from which the bigger palm had just been removed, which should provide it with a suitable home for a couple of years.

both palms re-potted ...

Since starting to draft this post, we've bought two more barrels from the garden centre and have now finished preparing them in exactly the same way, but with a different colour scheme.  

This new pair will be used to re-house our two camelia bushes which have now outgrown their large ceramic pots, and they'll be moved into the barrels after they've finish flowering.

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