How a Flea Market Gardener is born
You may wonder how in the world I became a ‘junque’ gardener. Well, I seem to have always been gardening, but here’s how it began for me. An old contractor’s wheelbarrow was my first ‘ junk’ gardening item and one that got me started eyeing unique, and funky items set out on trash day. This discovery only encouraged me and before I knew it, I was keeping n eye on all large discarded items set out on trash day.
On my way to the grocery, I spied a hollow pedestal made of solid and heavy concrete, couldn’t believe it was just set by the trash,….almost killed myself and the car by lifting into the passenger side floor. Lucky my car’s undercarriage wasn’t a bit rusty!
Here it is, though, in my garden today, used as a fountain plant stand. The pump hose goes up through the pedestal and up through the soil of the pot. Iris love water and can even grow in ponds, so I knew they wouldn’t mind being the star of this rocky stream like area of my garden. Thyme grows in the foreground and the white blooming plant ‘in the stream’ is Snow in summer’ a good plant to simulate water. The pedestal stands on some concrete blocks, set inside a half whiskey barrel fountain liner.
I become incurable
On the way back from driving my daughter to school, I began to take a circuitous route through an affluent neighborhood on Trash Day. I skulked slowly by all the trash cans, shamelessly stopping to collect larger items in good condition. Wooden patio furniture, iron urns, a metal camp bed, windows and doors that had been replaced by the homeowners all went into the back of my small truck, one by one. My metal peacock, terracotta pots, old 2x 8 redwood, a galvanized planter, large thick cane baskets, I can’t even name all the things I’ve found! All went into the garden to add the style I was coming to love. Yes, I admit, I was addicted.
As a tribute to my dear Tractor Man, all these doors and windows for future projects were moved 300 miles north when we moved from the suburbs of Southern California to the mountains near Yosemite National Park. Not one word was said, except for this, “Are we keeping these?” His face showed no reaction, when I said a bit tentatively, “Yes.” Nodding, he turned and started loading all my doors and windows into an open bed trailer for the first trip up.
Old ladders are often discarded on trash day when a new one is needed. No reason you can’t use them in the garden! These are collected and displayed leaned up against the old goat shed we found on the place.
This chair was my Grandma’s, now 75 years old! Some of the handle tools are Grandpa’s and some found at yard sales.
Hint: How to fix motel chair legs
One Flea Market Gardening reader, Barbra, says, “When those chair legs rust thru, cut them, run a piece of PVC inside the leg (or outside if its larger PVC) and spot weld it back together. Hubby puts a couple of screws into it to stabilize the PVC and TA-DA….. nothing goes to the scrap pile!”
I wish I had know that before. At a barbecue in our back yard, one of Tractor Man’s burly friends sat down,…. on the other one of Grandma’s chairs and kept going! Before our eyes, he sank back,…slowly….to the ground with his feet up in the air!
Update, April 10, 2013:
Yes, the hubs has never questioned me, in my remembrance about anything I really wanted to do and has helped me when I need muscle. He calls it “doing my bidding.” He’s given me a truckload of rocks, twice for my birthday and a lovely 3 gallon backpack sprayer so I can keep my garden paths clear of weeds.
Oh, he allowed me to buy myself a diamond ring on our 10 year anniversary, but though I love it, it doesn’t near mean as much to me as the ordinary things we do in the garden. I’m the brains, he’s the brawn, he says. Now that we have been married twenty or so years, we don’t really think about gifts much for any occasion. Our anniversary is today and what will we be doing? We’ll be out in the garden…building me a deer fence. Happy Anniversary, Honey. ~~ Sue