Antique bathtub becomes a flower bed

Antique bathtub becomes a flower bed

by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

Moving rain lilies (Zephyranthes) outdoors every spring and to the cellar every fall is a decades-old family tradition for Ken and Georgia Hottell of Indianapolis. "I remember my mother bringing them to our farm in a washpan from my grandmother's house," Ken says.

His mother divided the bulbs and shared them with him and his sister more than 40 years ago. "She gave me the washpan with the additional bulbs some 20 years ago," he says. "I've since divided those and gave each of our three children a pot of their great-grandmother's bulbs."

With a bathroom renovation on the back burner, Michael and Jeanette Olinger of Indianapolis decided to use their antique claw-foot bathtub in some nonconventional ways. "We kept the tub outside because it's really heavy, and we didn't want to move it up the stairs until we were ready for it," Jeanette says.

"So we started filling the tub with flowers and gave up the idea of installing it." Still, the Olingers' spring blooms must wait until after their annual Indianapolis 500 party, when they fill the tub with ice and beverages.

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp has been writing and speaking about gardening throughout the Midwest for nearly 20 years. She's a director of the Garden Writers Association, which is comprised of 1,800 professional communicators in the lawn and garden industry. Sometimes known as the Hoosier Gardener, she's part owner and editor of Indiana Living Green magazine and a former writer for The Heartland Garden, a program airing on PBS stations throughout the Midwest.


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Master Gardeners tend Indy's public spaces

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Marion County Master Gardeners plant penstemons, sedges and lobelias in a new rain garden at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Photo by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp)
Marion County Master Gardeners plant penstemons, sedges and lobelias in a new rain garden at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Photo by Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp)

The showcase gardens at public places such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Holiday Park and City Market are kept beautiful by Master Gardeners, many of whom are volunteers.

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