The Q&A Archives: Flowers cascading out of whiskey barrel

Question: A few houses in my old neighborhood had this effect of flowers cascading out of a whiskey barrel (on the ground). The flowers are typically impatiens and the effect looks like somebody tilted the barrel and the flowers are spilling over onto the ground. Can you please tell me how to recreate this effect in my garden?

Answer: There are some in my area, too.  They really are the old half whiskey barrels tipped and supported/immobilized from behind with rocks or bricks or whatever, partially filled with a slope of  potting mix, and planted. Plants are also set out in the surrounding ground to mimic the effect of a pool of water.  They work best with impatiens if oriented so that the opening faces north or east as impatiens are typically shade to part shade plants. (They can be grown in sun with ample watering, however.)  Spacing will depend on the variety of impatiens you select, however a rule of thumb would be to put them fairly close for a full effect early in the season, perhaps setting them about 8 inches apart if their estimated final height is 12 inches. If you get very involved in the project, you can plant taller varieties to the rear and shorter ones to the perimeter to further enhance the effect of spreading water.

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