I bring home a substantial amount of crap. In my head, there is a vision, but the side-eye I receive until the finished product is presented is substantial.
I have turned quite a few ugly, nasty, rusty objects into some pretty cool shit, so I don’t know why there is very little trust from those around me; it could have something to do with the pile of unfinished projects in the corner of the garage, I really don’t know. So when I brought home a four foot tall birdcage a few weekends ago, the raised eyebrows were extreme. It was $5 at a garage sale, what was I supposed to do? Not buy it? Come on. That’s just silly. I have seen Pinterest posts where people had turned old cages into planters and I was going to make it happen. This is what I started with:
Please excuse the mess that is my backyard. It is a work in progress. Not the prettiest thing ever, and yes, that is a little bit of poop residue down at the bottom, but bear with me. After a quick scrub and a coat of Rustoleum White Enamel spray paint, we were looking at this—
Pretty, right? I decided to go with white so the colors of the plants would pop against the cage. It is a pain in the ass to paint one of these, don’t get me wrong. Not hard, just a pain. The best tip I have is to paint it once going clockwise, then again going counter clockwise. Trying to cover the little skinny bars is frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. The plants you use will cover up any missed spots eventually.
I also used wire cutters to widen the door by 4 bars. Please be careful when messing with the sharp edges if you do this or you may end up cutting your finger open.
Tetanus shots will really add to your project time, so please, use caution and sandpaper to file down sharp metal edges.
Next, you need to choose your plants. I wanted some kind of clingy vine, a lavender plant, and something colorful. I choose a Climbing Fig vine, some Dusty Miller, a small lavender plant and a Celosia for a pop of color.
You will also need a hanging flower pot. I found mine at Grocery Outlet for $2.99, so please check discount stores before paying full price at Home Depot or somewhere like that.
I reduced the length of the chain so the pot would hang closer to the top. I planted the climbing fig vine into this planter after unwinding it from the tall stick it was originally attached to (please see picture above). Fig vines are really good clingers, and I wanted it to form the canopy of my birdcage.
After hanging the planter from the top of the inside, pull the vine through the cage and wrap it around various bars.
For the bottom, I potted the lavender, Dusty Miller and Celosia and placed them on the bottom of the cage.
Please excuse the wiltyness of the Dusty Miller. It hadn’t been watered in a few days, but I swear it will be lovely and tall in a few hours. Once I placed the pots along the bottom, I pulled pieces of the plants through the bars in order to train the plant to poke out the way I want it to. Now the planter is done and ready to find a new home in the garden! I chose a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade, which is best for the plants I chose (fingers crossed).
While big birdcages may be hard to come by, this project can easily be scaled down to work with smaller cages that can be had for under $15 at Ross, Marshall’s, or other discount stores. Pop any bushy plant in there and pull some branches through. While my birdcage looks a bit anemic at the moment, in a few months the vine and plants will have filled in and created a overgrown explosion of leaves and flowers. I like my garden a little wild looking, so if you do to, give it a shot!
Happy planting, y’all.