Carlene collects clutter!
Good clutter… The way Carlene Blair arranges this clutter is her talent and also the name of the blog story, Organized Clutter, of her garden and home creations. Junk gardening is one of the topics on her blog along with interior decorating, crafting and treasure hunting, all of our favorite things!
Many of her garden projects are so refreshingly unique that I know her imagination is boundless. Take a walk with us around her Northern Minnesota garden and see which projects and garden beds will inspire you.
”My name is Carlene and I am the mother of three grown children, grandmother of two, and work four days each week selling furniture. I live in northern Minnesota, and chronicle my collecting, and decorating with vintage items in my home and gardens on my blog Organized Clutter. Although I have been a flower gardener for over twenty years, I didn’t become a junk gardener until the late 1990’s when I was inspired by Mary Randoph Carter’s book “Garden Junk.”
Above is Carlene’s potting sink, complete with a dish rack with blue and white plates. A vintage pump and teapot sit on top along with red geraniums and small American flags.
My favorite junk garden pieces are vintage, rusty farm tools, and also vintage kitchen items that are readily available and inexpensive at thrift shops.”
“My most popular garden project began as a square rustic picture frame, a galvanized bucket (that originally contained a citronella candle), and a techno-heat lobelia. I hung the framed lobelia from a limb on my birch tree.”
“My front yard border, a mix of perennials, annuals, and junk, is a favorite of my neighbors. The stepladder has been my garden signature piece for over 10 years while other plants and junk have come and gone.” Carlene remarked.
“I love using unusual repurposed items as planters, like this vintage ice cream freezer, and I like making garden decor from junk too. The toadstools were made from individual Jello molds and screwdrivers.”
Carlene says, “”I challenge myself every garden season to find a new way to plant Sempervivum or hen and chicks. Here I planted them in a vintage toaster.”
“I added a toy Tonka front end loader to my succulent garden last year along with a dollar store river rock path.” she said.
Carlene says, “My stoneware bean pots with begonias and impatiens on top of another large crock. I did a graphics fairy transfer of French Roosters onto freezer paper ironed to muslin. The chair cushions are my old ones that I wrapped (like a present) with burlap!”
Just combining two ordinary things can create so much charm. She says, “Here’s my upside down galvanized funnel with red stripe and a broken broom handle.”
Carlene’s front border has low plants in front and taller ones in back to show off all the primary colors. “Since I garden in northern Minnesota in a hard Zone 3 climate, my front border is just starting to fill in, but in July, I think it will be beautiful!” she tells us.