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I had an impulse buy at Wyvale today - an original half whisky barrel. It's waterproof - it was full with rainwater (sadly not whisky) when we saw it.

I've put it down the end of the garden on the corner of a bark-mulched area. But it's a very shady spot, under trees, which limits our options. I've considered:

1) Leave it there as is, full of water, and maybe use it when watering that end of the garden (the hose won't reach so we have to hoick watering cans down there).

2) Instal a solar water fountain - is this likely to be successful, given the shady location?

3) Putting aquatic plants in - are there any that are suitable for shade?

3) Filling it with compost and planting it up.

Any thoughts, please on what's likely to work well? I'd like it to benefit wildlife if possible, though we already have a wildlife pond elsewhere. What's the best way of ensuring animals that fall in can escape, given that a slope from the bottom to the top will be quite steep. And are animals likely to fall in in the first place given that they'd have to climb the sides first?

Thanks in advance :-)



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,546


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 119

    Yep, I think a fernery will be the go-to option if I decide against water - I do love ferns but not many do well for us as the soil is light & dry so the barrel would be ideal. But I'd like to try some water feature first as it will be easier to convert it from a water feature to a planter than vice versa.

  • wrighttwrightt Posts: 226

    How about a camellia under planted with spring bulbs as I have in one of mine, or ferns heuchera and vinca underplanted with spring bulbs and jasmine as I have screwed some trellis to the back. If however your barrel is going in sun, you could plant a rose see David Austin  roses for suggestions  for roses in pots and perhaps phlox around it. Other options are phormiums and cordylines, with pansies etc

  • wrighttwrightt Posts: 226

    I forgot to say that it is easy to drill holes in them as I have done with the ones I have bought from Wyvale. Use a large drill or a spade drill.

  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125

    I was looking for a water proof half barrel to make a pond-in-a-pot! Some Oxygenators, maybe a little solar powered fountain to keep the water moving a little, and some lovely aquatic flowers! That's what I'd do :)

  • wrighttwrightt Posts: 226

    Aquatic flowers could be a problem as a lot of them do not like moving water so it is likely to be flowers or a solar powered fountain.

  • TigrahTigrah Posts: 125
    wrightt says:

    Aquatic flowers could be a problem as a lot of them do not like moving water so it is likely to be flowers or a solar powered fountain.

    See original post

     What do I know? image

  • JudyN,  have you thought about having a boggy barrel? Some marginals,  like Zantedeschia aethiopica, like wet feet and have some tolerance to shade. Lots of insects and vertebrates like foraging in squadge and you can place a container within the half barrel filled with water up to the squadgey soil level so they can get in and out.


  • JudyNJudyN Posts: 119

    Ooh, nice  idea, ML :-) I like the term 'squadgey' too!

  • thanks JudyN, I have my own gardening terminology:

    Flolloping = unsupported plants falling over paths

    Butt Gloop = semi solid ooze from the bottom of water butt

    Scruffling = opportunistic but half-hearted weeding or scarifying with hand tools, just in passing

    Crack-Shuffling = dragging your boots over patio pavers to rub out weeds, again, just in passing

    Bin Buckerooing = balancing one more teetering bucketful on the compost whilst defying gravity

    (there are other terms which cannot be shared on a forum; for things like finding cat poop in your gloves, that snails have had your seedlings or squirrels have unearthed your tulips when looking for their cache)


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