Pretty up Your Plants: Garden “Jewelry” to Find or Make

My mother could be described as the “garden angel” of her neighborhood. Not only does she keep her own yard full of colorful flowers surrounded by a delicate hand-crafted twig fence, she also lends a green thumb to anyone who needs a little gardening help. And she instilled in me a true appreciation for plants. Although as an adult, I’ve moved around a great deal, mostly making my home in apartments, I still like to keep a collection of container plants on the balcony or windowsill. However, it was my son who taught me a new trick … adding another layer of beauty to my mini garden with plant jewelry of a sort.

A budding photographer, he has a passion for collecting material things—not expensive watches and designer man-bags, but rather interesting rocks, twigs, and the like. A few years ago, we lived in a top floor flat with a sizable balcony, the perfect spot for an urban garden. I faithfully tended my potted beauties, flowering and fertilizing, trimming and wiping. Eventually I noticed unusual objects appearing here and there in the plant containers, courtesy of my son—bright bits of broken crockery, vibrantly-colored small plastic toys—”junk” in any other context but something else here, providing a focal point that made the green of the foliage and the flowers’ pinks and blues glow all the more gorgeous. Now I’ve adopted the practice myself.

Repurposed “Trash”

Whenever I take the dog for a walk these days, I keep my eyes open for potential plant decor, aka repurposable “trash.” One of my favorite recent scores was an irregularly shaped shard of ceramic, striped off-white and green. Why did it strike my fancy? Resting on the soil surface, it perfectly sets off the variegated leaves of my deskside pothos.

For other junky treasures, I don’t even have to set foot outdoors. I can experiment by throwing random items into the mix—the sole remaining member of a pair of earrings … or a playing token salvaged from a discarded chess set or board game. Leftover bright buttons or beads accent the beauty of houseplants, singly or arranged on a stick. The latter possibility can also function as a uniquely attractive mini garden stake. Another stake idea is a pretty piece of thrift shop flatware.

Natural Objects

Plants have an obvious affinity for other objects found in nature. Stones can be charming in and of themselves. If you prefer, try painting small rocks—in a plain color, as abstract art, with animal faces or as practical yet slightly quirky garden markers. (All these are lots of fun for kids!)

Arrange crystals as an outdoor flowerbed border or part of an H2O-sparing “water feature”—a crystal drop suspended from a funky old faucet or a weather-beaten watering can with strand of a fine thread. By the way, in addition to their striking appearance, crystals are reputed to aid plant growth and boost your gardening skills.

Other natural dress-up objects include fallen feathers or porcupine quills (handle them with care), discarded eggshells from wild baby birds, and pinecones or different kinds of seed pods in all shapes and sizes.

Crafted Objects

Often, decorations for your plants will seem to cross your path spontaneously. Should you decide to make the process a little more proactive, though, get busy crafting! Here are a few inspirations.

Cement leaves scattered among the living plants add a note of whimsy. So do wooden “flowers” or signs with garden-themed sayings such as “Bloom where you’re planted.”

Perhaps the most satisfying way of all to glitz up your plants is with hand-crafted holders. Shape your own hypertufa pots, or paint readymade earthenware containers using unexpected metallics or chalkboard finishes.

Laura Firszt writes for


Olga Nycz-Shirley
Olga Nycz-Shirely12 months ago


Mike R
Mike R12 months ago


Ellen J
Ellen J12 months ago

Thanks for the article.

Stephanie s
Stephanie Y12 months ago

Thank you

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Tacky! Flowers are beautiful enough!

Daniel N
Past Member about a year ago


Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a year ago

thank you for posting

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyerabout a year ago


natasha p
Past Member about a year ago


Jennifer F
Jennifer F2 years ago

I have a small to medium size rock garden and I have small to large rocks in it. I love to collect them and build on! I love the idea of using beads and jewelry in my flower beds! Going to look into that one because I love colors to make it brighter!