After a comprehensive and highly sophisticated poll, we’ve drilled down on the 10 recycled treasures Flea Market gardeners especially love and collect in their gardens. How many on this list do you have?
2016 Top Ten!
1. Old rusted wheelbarrow planter
An old contractor’s wheelbarrow was my first ‘ junk’ gardening item and one that got me started eyeing the large items set out on trash day. Here it is today, filled with Dragon’s Blood sedum, Yellow Ball sedum and Sedum Blue Spruce:
For how to see this: “How to plant a rusty wheelbarrow for the garden“
2. A small watering can collection
Be cautious here….collecting even a few watering cans can become an obsession…they are that much of a gardening icon!
“Small, medium, and large. A few watering cans…” Majella Maas says.
See many, many wonderous watering cans here: Wishing for watering cans: A gallery
3. Glass or sparkle
Garden Bling! We love this! What’s is more fun…collecting the pieces, or actually making garden totems? I don’t know! Just visit any glass section of a thrift shop and you’ll get inspired by what you fid. It’s something we can’t explain,…but understand.
Cobalt blue goes very well with terracotta and rust…
4. Galvanized tubs and bucket planters
Galvanized metal is simply steel in some form that has received a thin coating of zinc oxide, which simply prevents containers from rusting when exposed to the elements. This makes it perfect as a planter for bright succulents or spring annuals on the patio.
Arlene Brenneman says, “Here’s a massive hanging basket I bought recently and potted in my mop bucket. I repot them so they don’t dry out so quickly. Those hanging baskets are always dry!”
Jill Ruskamp says, “My tank garden is all from flea market types of buys or finds!”
5. A quaint chippy chair ‘plant stand’
Marie Niemann’s garden chair created a sensation! With a simple enamel bowl filled with flowers on the seat, it’s a charmer, but she’s upped the ante by adding the heart with its key. Now look what else there is here for inspiration and then see what YOU can do! Just an old chair….plus your imagination.
Marie Niemann says, “I love how my garden chair turned out last year, now if only I could remember what I planted! Purple and yellow are my two of my favorite colors together. I mainly plant containers so I change them up every year and move them around for a new fresh look.”
6. Upcycled Bicycle
A discarded or dilapidated bicycle can anchor a flower bed, looking as if the rider has stopped for tea and will be back any minute to pedal off! It’s such a quaint, ‘All American Summer’ look.
Jessica Eiss-Healthcoach says, “Summer bike being swallowed up by the perennials, with our cat Jack.”
Nancy K. Meyer received this from an anonymous neighbor. She says, “This special “trike” just showed up in my park one winter. When people know you like flea gardening –they leave gifts!”
7. Bowling balls
Who can explain why we decorate heavy bowling balls for garden art? It may come from the desire for expensive glass gazing balls and the pure fun of embellishing them in various ways,…with pennies, or sparkly gems or crushed glass. Here’s how to make a Penny Ball.
Marie Niemann says, “Here’s my first penny bowling ball and t was a great winter activity! It was a fun project that didn’t involve any thought process, so it was very calming and serene to work on. Right behind it is a wonderful old copper boiler I plant every year. I used GE Silicone ll Clear that can be found at most hardware stores.
I really don’t know how many pennies it took, about $10 dollars worth, but. I cleaned out my piggy bank, too. I spread some glue over a small area with a knife and towards the end I’d just dab a bit on each penny to stick on for the second layer. Just think… they eventually will turn BLUE!”
Fast forward a few months…
Marie now says, “Here’s my penny bowling ball after one year.. I sped up the aging process by spraying it with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and a little salt. And of course Mother Nature helped too! the pennies glued on with GE Silicone ll waterproof have held up very well outdoors, only one penny fell off. I made this using a double layer of pennies so the black ball didn’t show through, but some like to keep it bright and shiny and have painted their bowling ball first in a copper paint to hide the original color.”
8. Rust is a Must, in the Flea Market garden
My bucket along with several other Flea Market and trash day finds
9. Old garden tools
10. A vintage door or window
Cherrie Carine tells us, “I love old doors in the garden…photo is of my arbor “Door to the Garden”.. door opens to my back lawn gardens.”
For how to use old doors, see “The garden door to ‘nowhere’”
Angi Thornton says, “This is my Frank Lloyd Wright inspired painted window.”
For more see “Winsome window mosaics, for the garden”
Bonus Item! Something unusual and U-Neek!
You’ll know if you find one,…something so different, one-of-a-kind, something, after some experience searching, you have never seen before. Kathy Engel found this unique item, a vintage sink, just covered in a fine rusty patina.
See “Marvelous mailboxes in the garden” for how to do this project.