The History of Container Gardening

Square Planter GardenContainer gardening history spans the globe.  The idea for container gardening actually started out as society started living in cities and wanted to mimic the natural growth pattern of plants close to their home.  This concept was utilized in one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

In Babylonia 604 B.C., the “hanging gardens” could be found.  These gardens were not planted in hanging baskets but instead were planted on top of stone columns.  The vegetation would hang over the columns and in doing so would resemble “hanging gardens.”  The plant material would be watered in a mysterious way and that is water would run from the tops of the columns down through the vegetation.  The water never seemed to end and came from nowhere.

While the “hanging gardens” disappeared, the desire to grow plant material in a container spread to China around 200 A.D. with the concept of bonsais.  A bonsai is a plant that is miniaturized so that is looks mature but on a small scale.  To keep these plants small, their vegetation is pruned vigorously.  They are kept in the same container for their whole life.  To achieve this though, the plant’s roots have to be pruned often.

The desire to grow them closer to home and in a more urban environment spread to Europe.  During the 1660s, Europeans were fascinated with greenhouse and exotic plants.  To meet this curiosity, many Europeans were growing pineapples in containers that were placed in greenhouses.

In Greece, around 375 A.D., rooftop gardens could be found.  These rooftop gardens consisted of brick containers that were planted with an assortment of vegetation.  These containers were then placed on the roof where nothing else would grow.

In the early 1700, the Museum of Scotland had its own rooftop garden.

Today, the interest in container gardening has grown by leaps and bounds.  Urban development, food security issues and lack of land to “farm” has spurred this popularity.  Also, technology has made container gardening easier and available to anyone.

Today’s gardener has a wide variety of products that are used when it comes to container gardening.  The first development is the container.  This can be as simple or complex as you want it and you can even find ones that are self-watering.

The location of containers is no longer limited to the ground.  Hanging baskets, flower pouches, living wall hangers and grow bags exist to meet the vertical space.  Decorative and spinning hooks have been designed to hold these hanging containers on any surface you would like.

Lighter weight and soilless planting mediums have been developed to aid in planting in the vertical realm.  These lighter weight soils have made rooftop gardens more affordable and available to the masses.

Watering technology has also caught up with the container gardening craze.  Watering wands have been developed to reach those high hanging gardens while hydrogels like driwater allow soil to hold moisture longer.

Container gardens have come a long way and traveled the globe.  Today, container gardens can be found on the ground, hanging above your head and on your rooftop.  So jump both feet into this old planting craze and create your own definition of Eden through container gardening.

If you need some ideas, explore Outdora’s wide selection of containers and/or garden planters.  These include the stylish Cedar Picket Fence Planter and the Square Planter Garden.  Both of these will allow you to plant directly into the container.  If you have several potted plants and have no way of displaying them, then explore the Quintana Flower Cart.  This cart will allow you to display several already planted pots on three levels.  This planter is wonderful for the gardener who as a lot of plants but not enough space.

Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.

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