Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flower Tower Failure

I've been asked before if everything I do turns out.  The answer is a resounding NO!  Actually, most of my projects don't turn out like I had envisioned them.  Many are better, some are worse and some have to be scrapped.  I thought I'd blog about one of those projects.

My daughter and I have been planning on doing THIS PROJECT for some time.  We picked this weekend - perfect weather, big sale on flowers - to do it.

Pretty, right?  This is the Home Depot Picture. . . not mine.
This is ours:

Ummm. . . not quite the same.

We saw the commercial with the happy couple being helped by the perky Home Depot Garden Expert.  They allude that these are "budget friendly."  They didn't actually SAY it. . . I should have picked up on that.

We went to buy the wire.  The wire was $45 for a fifty foot roll.  YIKES!  I didn't need fifty feet and I didn't want to pay $45.  I found a 50 foot roll of rabbit guard wire for $25.  It's still a lot but I was going to need some for tomato cages later this summer so I bought that.

I also bought two huge bags of potting soil on sale.  The directions call for landscaping fabric.  I had some screen leftover from redoing our back door so I decided to save $15 and use that.  I also bought a ton of cheap flowers.  I spent $65 total, saving a bunch of money because I already had a pot.  This was still WAY more than I budgeted and WAY more than I wanted to spend but I had promised and she was so excited. . . I justified it with visions of my daughter snuggling with me on the front porch as cars slowly drove past, looking with wonder at the amazing flower tower we created together.

We got started.  I am including the photos because she took them.  Use them as a "what not to do".

I cut off some wire, made a loop and stuck it in the pot.

You could use zip ties to hold it together but I just bent the wire in on itself.

I cut the screen, made a tube and slid it in, folding over the top.

I filled the tube about 1/3 of the way full and watered it down. . . 

. . . and added soil around the bottom to hold it steady.

I kept filling it. . .

. . . and watered it down.

I cut Xs in the spaces between the wire and pushed in my flowers.

I staggered them every other one like the directions said and then did every one since it looked so bare.  The plants were too small or the openings were too big. . . I don't know.

About 2/3 of the way up, we ran out of plants.  I was in a dilemma. . . do I scrap the project and my $65, time and materials or do I get more flowers and finish it?  I decided to finish it.  I bought another $15 worth of flowers and finished it up.

From a distance, with your glasses off, it doesn't look too bad but it isn't great, either.  I HATE it!  It's out there and I'm hoping that, once the plants grow a bit, it will fill in.  I'm thinking it will take a LONG time.  My daughter is also disappointed.  She ended up wandering off because, when we reached the top and the spaces turned from 2x4 to 1x4, I had to snip off wires and it left sharp edges. I just couldn't squeeze the flowers into that tiny space.   I believe she got tired of listening to me curse every time I cut my hand.   When she came back, I think she expected that I would have somehow made it look fine and that our project was saved.  Not so.  She came back and I was sitting on the grass, sucking on my bleeding thumb and glaring at the tower.   We moved it to the front porch.  She suggested moving it IN the garage.  I would have but it was too heavy.

If I do it again:

I won't.  Ever.  It was too much money for such a lousy result.  The right wire is essential, I think.  Fuller plants are essential.  I can't imagine the cost of doing one of these without already having any of the materials.  Am I disappointed?  Yes.  Am I angry?  A little.  I work too hard to earn my money to toss it at a project like this.  It's my fault, though.  I should have been a responsible adult and walked away when I realized how much it was going to cost.  Lesson learned!


  1. Mine looks like yours......From a distance it is ok.....Never again....I should have read what you wrote be fore I started this awful and expensive project.....I talked a girlfriend into it..and she was making 2......I feel awful about what I did to her and is ready to go and replant 120 plants into her garden instead of this flower tower. thanks....I feel better...almost that green thumb wasn't turning brown because what I did.. It is lousy and expensive project....

    1. It's been a month and ours is slowly growing in. It's still monstrous up close but, from the street, it looks pretty good. I hope yours grows in, too!

  2. Fertilize-fertilize-fertilize. That's how it's done and that's how the greenhouses do it.

  3. I have watched several videos on building the Flower Tower. After considering the cost of that project, I decided to purchase a ready made flower tower. Depending on the website, it can cost $19.00 to $34.00 plus your flowers. It's the one manufactured in the UK. No flower pot is needed. There could be some top heavy issues with that product, so I will construct it in a flower pot. I thought that I would try that out sort of like training wheels. It seems that choosing the spot you want your flower tower in, and building it in that spot would be preferable. Additionally, starting from the bottom, I think that planting the flowers just after filling to the LEVEL of where the flowers are to be planted, might make it easier to get the flowers in. Then fill soil up to the next level and inserting the flowers again. Your video was very informative and funny as well. Thanks