Musical Instrument Planters

Musical Instrument Planters

Alright, now, the time has come for you to put out just a bit of effort and perhaps a couple of dollars for the Garden Project of the Week. And no fussing, you! I hear you back there in the last row. Last week required that you look through your pantry for items you already have, so you can't get too upset about this. I promise you, it's an awesome project and FUN, too! This is for all you music types out there: Musical Instrument Planters! I was given this old trumpet about 17 years ago by a dear friend (thanks, Caroline Parks!) who saw it in an antique store. I think she paid about $10 for it. I've had it up on the wall since forever, and I decided to turn it into a planter this past summer. I'd been at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show in March 2010, and was inspired by Dawn Engel's "Salvaged Creole Jazz Garden" where many of her planters were instruments. They were so enchanting, I had to create one of my own! Materials Musical Instrument (trumpet, tuba, french horn, drum, baritone, trombone) Plants (or just one plant if your instrument is small like mine) Landscape fabric (to line the instrument)--I also used a square of old pantyhose in mine Drill with small drill bit So grab your instrument--you'll be planting in the "bell" of the instrument, and the drum is pretty self-explanatory, right? If you're using a brass instrument, you'll be hanging it upside down, so it's necessary to drill some small holes in the bottom of the tubing where the water will go when you water it. This pic should help: Cut the fabric or pantyhose just big enough to stuff down into the bell at the top, but it should also come right up to the rim of the bell. This is to hold in the potting soil. If you look closely in the top photo, you'll see the pantyhose peeking out. I know, it's rude, isn't it? Instruments hangin' out with their pantyhose showing. Hmph. But I digress. After I put the pantyhose in, I took a chunky river rock and wedged it down into the bell so the pantyhose wouldn't eventually fall down into the bell, taking the plant with it. If you're using a larger instrument, you'll have to experiment with what will work best. I imagine if you've got a tuba or some such ginormous instrument, you could just fill the whole bell with potting soil, making sure you've got drainage holes drilled. If you're using a drum, you'll simply remove the top part of the drum, poke drainage holes in the bottom and plant away. Now add some potting soil and your choice of plant(s). I chose one small succulent, a string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), and it works perfectly with my trumpet planter. Choose what's right for your planter--size, style, appearance--just what you'd do with any other container. I hung mine outside on my balcony post--just nailed in two long nails and hung it right on there. Again, you'll have to experiment with your particular planter because they're all different sizes and shapes. Here's a pic of Dawn's drum planter with some awesome succulents:

Now, go on with you--get your groove on, go hang on a cool balcony, eating beignets and listening to awesome jazz:

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  1. says

    Really cute. Again, had to send this to my mom since she loves innovative planters.

    I wonder how planters made of metal like that fare in Texas. I’ve always heard metal planters tend to fry plant roots in the summer.

  2. says

    Thanks, David! And Marc, mine is in morning sun and then shaded–I have it hung on the balcony side of the post, so it’s really a perfect spot. But that’s a good point to be careful where you put/hang these metal planters of any kind.

  3. says

    Oh so sad to see musical instruments used as planters! So many kids want to play (husband is beginning instrumental teacher) and cannot afford to even rent an instrument, these will never be used again!! Makes me very very sad.

  4. says

    Jackie, these are instruments that can’t be played again–this one can’t even have air blown through it. Operable instruments should be played, sold or donated, and fixed if they are damaged but can be repaired. Inoperable instruments can be repurposed, as I’ve shown here. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Helen says

    Hey Jenny,
    Love your project this week. How clever, re-purposing the old worn out instruments. It’s almost like they get to continue playing… giving their music…carrying a new tune! 🙂

  6. says


    This idea is fabulous, and your choice of plant is perfect! Been lurking a while and loving all your projects, just couldn’t keep from commenting on this one though, especially with some great dixieland jazz in the background. I have a list of “stuff” to keep my eyes open for at the “junk” store now. Thanks!


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