What are whimsies? They are truly art pieces and, in a sense, jewelry for your garden. A true Flea Market gardener, Mary Mirabal searches the shops for cast off dishes, teapots and other attractive ceramics and combines them with her own bit of magic. Mary lives and gardens in Tampa, Florida in garden Zone 9.
Mary’s Garden Whimsies developed out of her desire to be creative and do something fun as a way of earning extra income. Mary says, “I was down-sized from my corporate job in 2008 and worked part-time as a consultant while looking for a new job. After doing this for a couple years and setting my own hours I realized I didn’t want to work for someone else on a full time basis again. So, what could I do to supplement my part time job? Create garden whimsies of course!”
Mary’s been an avid gardener for 15 years and has always been a “flea market” junker when it comes to decorating her garden. She says, “I believe you can decorate your gardens the same way you decorate your home. I have been re-purposing other peoples’ discarded treasures for use in my garden long before there was name for it. I love fun, whimsical gardens where you find unexpected treasures.
Her imaginative potting shed proves that Mary has loads of garden style. She’s says, “I hung this “found” window frame on my potting shed. The potting shed actually began it’s life as my children’s play and swing set. We re-purposed it into my potting shed after the kids were grown.”
Just look at this creative way to use thrift shop plates as an edging around flower beds. Mary tells us, “The plate edging is a work in progress. I just dig a shallow trench behind the brick edging that’s already there. Then I line the plates up to slightly overlap each other and that’s what holds them in place. If you have a broken plate simply insert that end into the ground and no one is the wiser!! Most of the plates I’ve picked up from thrift stores for under a $1 each. Others were given to me by friends who know I collect dishes for my garden whimsies.”
Mary’s signature ‘whimsy’ is made up from ceramic plates and figurines, rather then glass. “Last summer I tried my hand making garden whimsies after seeing a photo online of a glass garden totem. I thought I’d make mine with a combination of ceramics and glass since I prefer lots of colors and patterns in my garden art. I made several different designs and asked my gardening friends to critique my work. Every one one of those first designs was purchased and I was encouraged to keep creating.”
How to make a ceramic garden totem,..a whimsy!
It may take some looking, but Mary Mirabal tells us that you can find pieces like this and make your own Garden Whimsy. It’s so rewarding to display them in the garden! She arranges them to please herself and uses permanent exterior silicone caulking to glue them together.
Mary also stacks plates for ‘flower’ garden stakes. Each is fitted with an ‘L’ fitting on the back so they can be set on a copper pipe stake and placed where ever you want in the garden. We say, “Put one right by the front door where they can be seen!”
“It brings me great joy to transform “found” pieces into unique, one of a kind garden art. As the old advice goes – try to find a job that you love doing. Well, I truly love creating my garden whimsies and hope others will see the love that goes into each design,” Mary tells us.
Recognize something? Recently, Mary was chosen as ‘cover girl’ for the Flea Market Gardens 2013 issue out today at Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Barnes & Noble. She also has her own Facebook page called Garden Whimsies by Mary and an Etsy shop.
Mary has such a talent for combining colors and textures. We love this look in a cottage juntique garden, so add colorful plates to your mental list when shopping Flea Markets and you may have one of these in your garden soon. ~~ Sue