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Container gardening demonstrate the uses of useless things
Holding samples of one-of-a-kind container gardens that they snagged at the Monday meeting of the Manteca Garden Club are, from left: Denise Hoffman with a fruit-drying tray vertical garden, Kay Harris with old-tire container garden, and Edie Brown shown holding a pair of old leather boots planted with succulents and other drought-resistant plants. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Container gardening is not just for traditional commercial pots. Those worn leather boots that your husband or son have outgrown and worn out, and even your vehicle’s old tires whose usefulness have run their normal course can be given a new life in the garden.

There are plenty of uses for useless things, with the help of a little bit of dirt and other simple materials, was the message of P&L Concrete Products Nursery Manager Angela Cardoza to an audience of about three-dozen avid gardeners Monday at the Manteca Public Library. To prove her point, she brought along samples of garbage discards that she has transformed into eye-catching and one-of-a-kind living creations for gardens of any size and style – vertical, cottage, formal, you name it.

Two fruit-drying wooden pallets that have long seen useful days were transformed into rectangular vertical gardens – one filled with floral plants, the other as an herb garden that included parsley, rosemary, and pansies. Cardoza then recycled one full-size tire and a second one that may have belonged to a wheelbarrow at one time, and used their hollow guts as planters for drought-resistant varieties such as succulents. But arguably the planter – or planters – that caught the most attention and elicited plenty of amusement was a pair of old crunched leather boots tied together with jade and other perennials growing from dirt-filled openings above and the toes below. Cardoza didn’t even have to punch drainage holes at the soles of the old boots with the worn seams doing that job.

Renee Rondon said the type of container gardening that was presented at the Manteca Garden Club’s program on Monday at the Manteca Public Library is just one of many workshops offered by the nursery year-round, both at P&L Nursery’s Roosevelt Street location in Escalon or on the road.

“We go to garden shows like that (held in Manteca on Monday) and we lot of workshops throughout the year. We are open to everybody. We don’t charge for the class itself, just for the products. They would buy the materials” needed for the class, which would be available at the nursery, Rondon explained.

All the workshops are hands-on, she added. You can even bring your favorite or special container and have them create your idea of a planter for a fee. P&L’s next workshop will be on how to care and maintain healthy Japanese maples on Oct. 27 at 11 a.m., and is offered for free. Coming up on Nov. 10 also at 11 a.m. will be a workshop on holiday arrangements. Fee is $15 to $20, and those interested need to sign up for the class.

The Manteca Garden Club’s meeting in November will not be held at the Manteca Public Library where members meet normally meet once a month. Hosting the Monday, Nov. 19, meeting starting at 12:30 p.m. will be the Silverado Nursery on South Stockton Street in Ripon. The program will be on fall and winter gardening with Sue Zieegurt as the featured speaker.

For more information about the Manteca Garden Club, visit