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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Plant a Present

By Christina Katz

Looking for a Mother's Day gift that is as much fun to make as it is to give? Then look no further. Shoe pots make great gifts and are a sure way to put a smile on Mom's face.

  1. Find the shoes. Head over to your local resale shop, and look for a pair of shoes Mom would love. Nothing strappy or sandal-like--these shoes must hold some soil. A pair of pumps, sneakers, or boots works well. Look for shoes that reflect Mom's personality and favorite colors.
  2. Gather glass beads. Pick up some glass beads at your local dollar store or craft supply shop. Look for ones that compliment the colors of your shoes. Avoid dark colors and clear beads, neither of which will pop against a dirt background.
  3. Shop for flowers. The best types of plants for shoe pots are flower starts because they are small and allow for variety. (Unless you have a very large boot, you won't be able to fit a fully-grown plant.) Alyssum, pansies, and fuchsia make great choices because they are inexpensive and come in many different colors. Some starters may not have flowered yet, so combine them with those already flowering.
  4. Drill holes in shoes. If you don't drill drainage holes, the soil in your shoe pots will overflow every time you water them. To avoid this, drill several holes into the bottom of your shoe pots. Three or four larger holes work well if you can place them in the middle of the soles. If you do not have a suitable drill bit, use your screwdriver bit and a large screw to make holes. For heels with metal arch supports, drill six to seven smaller holes around the base of the shoe, where the shoe material meets the sole.
  5. Prepare larger shoes. If you are using bigger shoes, such as boots, fill them with balled-up newspaper or packing peanuts in a sturdy plastic bag. To make sure water can flow down into the shoe and out the drainage holes, don't cram materials in too tightly. This reduces the amount of potting soil you will have to use in your shoe pots and helps keep them lighter.
  6. Add plants to pots. Once you have decided on attractive plant combinations, loosen plants from pots and knock off as much soil from each root ball as you can. Even after removing a good amount of soil, you likely will not need to add potting soil to small shoe pots. Fill each shoe with as many types of flowers as you can.
  7. Water your shoe pots. Don't be afraid to get your shoe pots wet! First, tuck a bit of granular flower fertilizer down into the dirt. Then allow the shower of water to rinse dirt from the sides of pots. Insure drainage holes are working as they should.
  8. Top your planters with glass beads. For maximum impact, press glass beads into any dirt that is showing atop your shoe pots. These beads will act as mulch to help preserve moisture after watering. But the best reason to add them is because they add more color and pizzazz to your gifts.

Christina Katz is an author, journalist, and writing coach.