Old tree stumps can easily take a decade or more to rot away. In the meantime, they’re an eyesore -- a reminder of past glories gone missing. You can pay to have the stump ground to bits, or you can make lemonade with your lemons and create an attractive focal point. Here’s an easy way to do it.
Form the Basket. Use an old wire basket, or form one from galvanized steel field fencing (#254106) cut to size. Cut and fold a portion of the wire fencing inward to serve as the base, then attach to the stump with wire tacks.
Good to Know: To extend the life of the tree stump and discourage insects, apply a preservative such as polyurethane to the stump before starting the project.
Pack with Moss. Soften a bale of sphagnum moss by soaking it in water for about half a minute. Fill the perimeter of the basket by compressing the moss in and around the wire frame.
Add Soil. Fill the basket with a soilless potting mix containing fertilizer. For a 4-foot-diameter stump like this one, you will need about three 2.5-cubic-foot bags.
Moisten the Planter. Tamp the soil gently to remove air pockets and then moisten to settle the soil. Add more soil mix to the level of the basket rim.
Plant the Basket. Add your choice of plants. Include a tall specimen such as the burgundy New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) for the centerpiece, or “thriller.” Surround it with spreading “fillers” such as geranium and licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) and trailing “spillers” such as Nemesia and sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima). To fill the sides, carefully dig holes through the moss liner and push plant roots through the gaps until making contact with the soil mix. Add extra moss to hide any wire that shows after planting.
Keep the planter basket well watered throughout the growing season. Then sit back and enjoy your new mini garden.