My luck with growing things over the past few years has been very unsuccessful. In fact, I am pretty sure I have a black thumb, but refuse to give up, probably because of my love for flowers! This spring I decided that I not only wanted flowers in our flower beds around the house, but that I wanted to expand the flowers into a few planters around our back porch. I knew the general look and feel I was going for from a few different images I had been collecting and was ready to begin implementing my ideas. After gathering a variety of pots and figuring out my color palette, I still wasn't 100% sure how to pull it altogether with the actual plants, so I thought I would go chat with one of the experts at Natorp's Nursery, Sharon, and get a few tips & suggestions to making the perfect floral bar cart!
Tips & Tricks
One of my favorite tricks from Sharon was that sometimes it is easier to put a pot within a pot instead of creating drainage. Originally my intentions were to drill a few holes in the bottom of the tin pot above so that I could use it for flowers. Instead, Sharon showed me that if you take a few little pots and turned them upside down you created a riser allowing for another pot to sit within the original pot. This is a great trick because it allows for ease in and out of the pot and also reduces the overall mess when watering!
Stay within a color palette. Like most design elements, the more guidelines you have the more cohesive the overall space/story will be. Typically having 2-3 colors mixed with neutrals is a great way to start. I used navy, gold and cream as my neutrals mixing in pinks, mint and mustard yellow with both pots and flowers.
Sticking to flowers that will actually grow in your desired location. I think this may be the hardest part of all when it comes to flowers because there are so many options and it always seems that the ones I love won't actually work with where I plan on growing things! Often times there are small signs with graphics indicating requirements such as how much sun, watering and space an item needs. Make sure to look at these and keep in mind if you are doing a floral bar cart for your porch, it will be covered & a bit more shady!
Again, like many other design elements, mixing in a variety of texture, color and size adds more dimension to the overall composition. Below you can see that in the larger pots you have the variety all within one pot including some plants that will eventually cascade down the side while others will grow vertically. In smaller pots, you can do the same type of thing with just one or two plants and then arrange the pots themselves to create the same effect as the larger pot.
Your bar cart can be anything! I found this great little piece last year at the Burlington Flea, for a whopping $10! Of course, the shelves originally were a quite an ugly graphic wood, which I immediately covered with navy spray paint. However, the great thing is that the bar cart didn't really cost all that much nor take a lot of time, so I am not all that worried about it sitting outside as floral bar cart! Be creative and find something that works for you!
One of the most important things to remember is that plants grow & evolve which will only enhance what you started with. Make sure you allow enough space so the plants actually grow! Some of the plants below probably could use a larger pot already, but I couldn't resist some of the pots so I went ahead with herbs in the smaller ones.
I mostly used herbs, but you can really use any plant you want! Here are some of the ones I used - Superbells, Kentucky Colonel Spearmint, Basil Green Bouquet, Italian Oregano, Curled Parsley, Oregano "Thumbles Variety," & Lavender "Hidcote."
Floral Bar Cart Necessities
Every bar cart has a few necessities, including the one outside! This is a great place that you can set a few things if you have people over so you aren't running in and out, but can actually enjoy yourself. Often, I find that my bar cart isn't completely full but has plenty of room to add things in depending on the day. Some of the items can be left outside, while others may go in & out.
- Inexpensive candles - It is always great to have a few candles outside especially a citronella one that ideally will help reduce mosquitoes. Don't spend a lot of money on these, but instead stop by an Ikea or dollar store and pick up a bunch! A couple of weeks ago the bugs were swarming around like crazy, so we turned off the overhead light and lit candles all over the deck. It was the most calming evening!
- Make sure to bring out a lighter or matches, so that when it is time to light the candles you aren't searching all over the house for them!
- Plasticware - Above, I show my acrylic wine glasses, which I LOVE and got for a wedding gift last year. You don't necessarily need a whole outdoor set, but it is nice to have a few things that aren't breakable or super precious so its no big deal if someone drops something while they play corn-hole.
- Salt & pepper, condiments, bottle opener or any other small items that might be used throughout the day. Of course, these aren't outside if we are just hanging out, but if we are doing some get together with food the bar cart is a great place to set up all your "extra" items!
- I didn't add it to these pictures, but a bluetooth speaker is great to have outside. We have the bar cart right next to the outlet, so it is pretty easy to move the speaker outside for some tunes while we work or play!
We were enjoying the beautiful weather on our back deck quite a bit, but I have to say adding a few more plants and an organized bar cart to the mix makes the whole experience that much better. Now the only trick is going to keep everything alive! Hopefully some of these tips & tricks will help you be somewhat successful in your growing endeavors and that even if you have a small space inside or out, that you can add a touch of green to it! Do you have any tricks for keeping things alive?
Ps. We have been working on a whole deck makeover, so I am hoping to share with you sooner rather than later, but we still have to finish up all the pieces!