Garden Project - Upcycled Tin Can Display

Extracted from Urban Flowers by Carolyn Dunster, published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.

An inexpensive way to display plants, tin cans provide good homes for annuals, which do not have large roots systems.

The stars of this project are the annual lime green tobaccco plants (Nicotiana), which I grew from seed in early spring and combined with cosmos and coneflowers to produce this pretty yet inexpensive display in upcycled tin cans.

The lime green hue of this variety of tobacco plant is quite stunning. It looks great in a display all by itself but to highlight its beauty I have displayed it with a tin of pale yellow cosmos and lime green coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Jewel’), together with cut sprigs of Bupleurum, to complete the lime zest picture.

You will need:
tobacco plant seeds
seed tray
seed compost
a variety of large fruit or vegetable cans
hammer and nail
multi-purpose compost
cosmos and coneflower seedlings(optional)
small watering can

  1. Look out for large tin cans – catering sizes are ideal and you may be able to pick them up free from a local café or restaurant. Make drainage holes in the bottom of each tin with a hammer and nail.

  2. Fill a large can almost to the top with multi-purpose compost. Gently transplant four or five seedlings into the can using a teaspoon to scoop out the roots. To avoid any damage, handle the seedlings with care.

  3. As the seedlings become established, take out all but the strongest healthiest plant to give it space to flourish and flower. If the others are growing well too, pop them in their own tin can filled with compost.

  4. It took five months from sowing to flowering, so patience is the name of the game. Water the tins every day or two, and remove faded looms to encourage more to form. You can also harvest the seed in autumn.

Visit Carolyn Dunster's website Urban Flowers.

Photographs by Jason Ingram

Urban Flowers by Carolyn Dunster.

£20. Out Today

Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group.