Urban Containment

Two city gardens—one beautiful, one edible— demonstrate their command of containers.

An Edible Sanctuary
Photo by Craig Bares

A Moveable Yard

Scott Endres is seriously flush with pots around his home—a St. Paul Victorian that spans a straight-off-the-grid lot. “I probably have 40 or 50 containers I plant every year,” says the co-owner of Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis. It’s the perfect approach for an urban gardener lacking space but looking for the tranquility of caring for and enjoying a lush garden.

For one, Endres says, “Containers are mobile. You can move them like furniture.” For creativity, for interest, or purely for the zen of gardening after a day at work, containers beg to be played with. “I pack the day with so many things. I’m really only working in my own garden in the morning or evening,” he says. With containers, a busy urban warrior “can remain connected to earth, to plants. It reminds me why I got into this business.” Secondly, containers look great right away and with very little effort. There’s none of that “wait for the tulips” business. “And you don’t have to get overwhelmed, running home to a whole driveway of plants to maintain,” Endres says. In fact, one of his favorite tasks for his Tangletown clients is mixing a container “recipe”: “We’ll arrange plants in a box and send that home, ready to be planted. You can do one in a weekend.”

And containers are portraits of their arrangers. “They are expressions of the people composing them, like pieces of art,” says Endres. This creative license, Endres says, is a great gift to the urban gardener: “Smaller spaces allow you to express your personality through gardening without it consuming your life.”