Hidden Gnome Container Garden

Hidden Gnome Garden

I actually have a few ceramic gnomes hidden around my yard, but this is the only one who had a garden created just for him. His petunias are very happy, so he’s a little more hidden than I intended!

To make this garden, I started with a Behrens 1GS 11 Gallon Round Galvanized Steel Tub. For drainage, I drilled 6 holes around the sides, 2 inches up from the bottom, using a 1/4″ bit. Be careful after drilling each hole, since the rough edges of the metal can be sharp.


When I turn large containers into planters, I like to put the drainage holes on the side instead of the bottom because it can be hard to find saucers for such large pots. Having some space below the drainage holes keeps some of any overflow in the pot, makes the pot slightly self-watering when the weather is hot and dry.

Next I added a combination of (mostly) potting soil, a bit of deodorized cow manure, and some Osmocote Plus Outdoor and Indoor Smart-Release Plant Food. The Osmocote lasts for 3 months, so I only have to fertilize a couple of times a summer.

Then it was time for the fun part. The main plants are two pink and white striped miniature petunias. A veronica is hidden underneath that can take over next year when the petunias are gone. I’ll add another small perennial next year, as well, but I wanted the garden to look good quickly, in time for guests, this year.

There are three decorations in the garden: the blue gnome, a house, and a mushroom. The gnome is Larry the Gnome, from Chive.com. I picked up Larry when he was hanging out at a local nursery. Maybe someday Jett the Snail will join him in the garden to live in the mushroom.

Larry is a cool little guy, just 8″ tall and 2″ wide, plus he’s ceramic as I mentioned earlier, so he’s perfect for a fairy garden in a container that’ll be outside year round on my porch in zone 7. Resin garden art doesn’t last long here in the desert, plus I like Larry’s sense of dignity.

The mushroom is from KimmelGnomes.com which creates handmade ceramic garden gnomes, both reproductions of vintage gnomes and original gnomes designed by the artist. They sell mushrooms separately, but I got mine when I ordered some of her gnomes, which are all handmade.


The birdhouse is something I’ve had for many years. It’s bottom has fallen out, so it’s no good as a birdhouse any more, but the rest is still in good enough shape for a gnome to live inside happily. Larry and I decided to upcycle it.

Gnome Tub- Occupants Really Close

Next year I’d like to do more hardscaping for Larry, maybe give him a garden path, Jett the snail or other friends, and/or another mushroom, in addition to changing out his plants.

More views of Larry’s garden:

Hidden Gnome Garden-Side View

Gnome Tub+Trellis1

Gnome Tub-The Occupants Up Close

Gnome Tub- Birdhouse and Shroom House

Gnome Tub in Situ

Yes, I know that basil needs to be harvested! Just waiting for the monsoons to take a break!

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