Not sure why I hadn't thought about this before. While looking to clean up old debris and discarded household paraphernalia behind my garden shed, I'm reminded that I must get rid of an old metal file cabinet. I have tried to dismantle the file cabinet, I even tried my trusty "Mr. Sledgehammer" on it, but it's built like a battleship, so it has sat behind the shed for 4-5 years outside, still as sturdy as ever. Suddenly I had an idea, what if the file cabinet was turned over, open side up, it could become the frame for a large trough!
So next spring, it will become a trough project. Drainage holes will be drilled through the back panel (back panel becomes the bottom), I'll mount narrow wood furring strips on the sides, then wrap heavy gauge wire mesh around the perimeter, and cover with hypertufa mix. The cabinet is large, and when filled, will be very heavy, so I'll have to make the trough "in place" in whatever destination I pick for it.
On the front side (presentable side) of my shed, I have several smaller troughs. Touring the yard on this sunny but cold day, I'm was reminded about troughs, studying the winterizing growth of trough inhabitants. It struck me just how relatively large and robust the single tiny rosette of Arabis koehleri had grown this year, now multiplied and rather plump (center lower edge of trough), with Townsendia rothrockii to the upper left setting its spring buds now, and a nondescript Erigeron on the left that came from NARGS seed as a Townsendia (not!). For comparison, a photo I already posted before, is the little sprig of Arabis blepharophylla Arabis koehleri flowering this past spring, April 2011. Cute, isn't it.