November 13, 2015
Covering My Outdoor Urns with Burlap
You know winter is around the corner when various ornamental vessels around my farm get enveloped in burlap.
I’ve been covering shrubs and hedges with burlap for many years - since I first started to garden. This practice protects branches from splaying and even breaking from the weight of snow and ice.
I feel it is equally important to protect my outdoor garden ornaments from the harsh winter elements. A winter freeze, alternating with thaws, could crack or crumble any kind of stone or cement. Every year, all my outdoor containers such as urns and birdbaths, are drained, and covered in the same burlap used for my live specimens. Here are some photos of this process.
1 After the urns have been emptied of plant material and soil, they are covered with a piece of plywood.
2 The plywood is cut to fit the top of the planter, and can be used from year to year. These tops are also painted in the same color as all the outdoor wooden stakes around my farm - Bedford gray.
3 Wilmer cut the burlap fabric to drape over the urn completely.
4 Because stone and cement can crack from exposure to the winter elements, the urns are covered with heavy plastic before getting fitted with a burlap cover.
5 When we can, we reuse burlap from seasons past; however, it is also available in giant rolls of 40-inches or 60-inches wide.
6 Wilmer decided to use a double layer of burlap for extra protection.
7 Starting from the bottom, Wilmer began to stitch together the sides of the burlap.
8 To sew the burlap, we use jute twine.
9 The needles are specially designed for sewing jute. These five-inch long needles have large eyes and bent tips.
10 Wilmer also made sure burlap protected as much of the bottom of each vessel as possible by carefully stitching one end and then connecting the twine to the other side.
11 To do this, Wilmer used a piece of bamboo to carry the needle under the container and to the opposite side.
12 Once the burlap was secured underneath, Wilmer began working on the rest of the urn.
13 There was a lot of tucking involved, and a lot of stitching and knotting.
14 Pretty good sewing, Wilmer.
15 The burlap should be sewn tightly, but with some space for air circulation.
16 The burlap nearly conforms to the shape of the urn. Here was the back...
17 And here was the front of the urn.
18 There were also two giant burlap-covered urns at the entrance to the cutting garden.
19 Two smaller urns outside my kitchen on my terrace parterre were enshrouded in burlap as well. Wilmer did a couple more small urns on my upper terrace parterre outside my porch - you can see the urns covered in black heavy plastic in the back of this photo.
20 Two urns that sit in the front of my home were covered in burlap too.
21 And, another two outside my kitchen in my courtyard.
22 This is an antique cement birdbath in the courtyard of the house. It was covered in the same way as the urns.
23 In the garden behind my Summer House, are six very heavy, very special planting vessels. For these, I decided they could be grouped together and covered.
24 Wilmer covered the urns completely with burlap.
25 Then, he secured the sides with stitching.
26 A few knots helped keep the burlap in place as he sewed.
27 And, then he began sewing.
28 Keep it going, Wilmer.
29 And, in the end, all my planters and urns are protected from the heavy ice, damaging moisture, and high winds. What should we burlap next?