Container idea: Broken mirror? Thank you very mulch

Container planting with pebble mulch.

What’s under that crowd? Pebbles used as mulch. But mulch can play a starring role in a container planting as well.

In this month’s issue of Sunset magazine, a feature on mulches for containers suggests using untumbled mirror. That’s little pieces of broken mirror. Hmmmm. The idea is kinda cool. For a combo of alien-looking succulents, why not have something metallic and shiny as a mulch? I figure if you don’t have kids or pets and all your guests are so well trained that you’re confident they’re not going to stick their fingers into your pots–why not?

Adding mulch to containers is a good idea whether you enjoy playing with sharp objects or not. Mulching helps keep the moisture in your container’s soil and hinders weed growth. But mulch can also play a starring role in your container plantings, particularly if you’re into a minimalistic look. Think a row of dark, square containers, each filled with one striking succulent and all mulched with something eye-popping that sets each plant off gloriously. You get the idea.

So when you’re starting to plant up your containers this spring, think about using mulch as part of the overall design, not just the stuff you use to protect the soil. Here are some ideas:

1. Sea shells: This works great if you want that beach holiday look in your back yard.

2. Buttons: For the avid recycler or vintage clotheshound, try a collection of colourful plastic buttons spread under equally retro-feeling plants like primroses.

3. Lego pieces: Whether you still have kids or just the toys they left behind, these little bits will make an eye-catching container planting.

4. Puzzle pieces: Got a huge puzzle you’re tired of? You know what to do.

5. Marbles: Fits into the same idea as broken glass without the risk of a lawsuit.

6. Pebbles: Yes, you can buy pebbles just for this purpose at your local garden nursery but I like to recycle the stones I’ve hoed up from my flower beds.

7. Crushed glass: Again, this is a staple at garden stores. Each year, it seems, there are even more colours on offer.

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