Carnival colors in a salvaged garden
Artist, Cathie Zurich-Wus, coaxed every bit of vibrant color from her whimsical garden and we wanted to know more. Her home, with just as much character, was profiled once by the local news in her home town of Sarasota, Florida, but here, we want to know about the outdoors! This is the story of her colorful and quaint garden in her own words:
“Florida is one of the places to be it seems. My husband, Mike and I are both ex-Northerners so we know snow! Gardening here though is wonderful year round and Flea Market shopping is so easy to do without the stress of snow and ice limiting our ‘finds’–yippee for that!”
“We have about an acre and my sister and her hubby live next door. We keep our grounds, surrounded and shaded with tall oaks, mostly natural as we are “Certified Wildlife Habitat” so nothing here is well groomed or fussy. But we constantly have to cut away the vines and tame the growth some–you know! Here you can just see the swing house just beyond the metal butterfly I painted.
“Through the new blue door gate is an adult size see-saw for kids of all ages and good for leg exercise! Whoever goes “up” can see the creek easily! On the see-saw, we painted the familiar saying–“We don’t stop playing ‘cause we grow old–we grow old when we stop playing!” It is great to repurpose and create something happy in the garden at almost no cost.”
“We found an old white front door around the corner in a junk pile! Someone was cleaning out and remodeling a neglected home. I said to my husband please go back and get it we can use it! The bottom of the door was all rotted so we just cut it short and made it the sort of gate and it all worked out.
The gate opens into our front garden by the creek. Doesn’t it make a joyful sight under the Bleeding Hearts vine? We love that it was a ‘rescue’ and only took a little work to make beautiful in our garden! It makes us happy every time we see it now!”
“The fancy black hardware is “painted” on which I have not finished it yet to make it balanced. That bear statue is concrete and was painted plain dark brown when we found it so I repainted him last year–he is due for a touch up though! Whimsy in the garden is fun and the color really brightens up what was sort of a dark shady corner. It was fun painting the door knob colors “two-tone” if you can see it is bright pink and red!”
“The birds atop each post of this gate were black metal we painted. After I found them, I set them aside figuring I would use them somewhere. What you cannot see is the left side of this red gate is a stained glass gazebo attached to our 1908 cottage and to the right is a little swing house with a creek behind it. ”
The flagstones at the gate and swing house were from a large fireplace tear down on Bird Key. They were advertised on craigslist for free to whoever could come get them.
“We do have a tropical type jungle-y garden under the old oak trees and this brightened the spot just enough! Our home is called “The Tentmaker’s House” because the former owner was a tentmaker for the circus.
“The porch has storybook garlands and string lights–almost all the items we have in the garden come from Flea Markets or salvaging. We were not sure how the colors would work but here in the neighborhood, but a lot of neighbors have remarked that they enjoy it all so much. You can’t really go wrong in a garden with color, can you? It one place to play and be imaginative.”
A home and garden should be a cheerful, happy place as we all cope with the world each day.I know we are not so common- and it’s not everyone’s sense of style–guess I am artsy–funny thing is my sister lives next door and her home is very groomed and simple and less is more style–we are opposites but can appreciate each other! She gets a good laugh sometimes at what goes on here, but then, we make her happy, huh?”
“We enjoy having fun enjoying our property and recently installed a seven foot wide color pencil driveway gate that my husband and I made together. Since I am an artist it works for me!
Even in a garden there is always room for happiness to sprout up anywhere! We designed a simple shape on and painted our Rubbermaid mailbox to look like our house and people on the street ask me where I bought it!
Now, when we are outside “working’ in the garden, people passing by often ask us if they can come into the garden and usually we oblige. ’Some’ have mistaken us for the gardeners and I guess they’re right!”
It all starts with just an idea or sometimes something we spotted on a Facebook page—- like yours! Thank you for inquiring about our very “unique” place.”
–Cathie and Michael in Sarasota Florida near The Bay!