‘…with wild abandon’
Explained it means with rash, unrestrained impulsiveness, enthusiasm, or zeal. But some gardens need no explanation, but just must be seen….to be taken in and absorbed and in doing so get a glimpse into the soul of a garden artist. We first met Josephine when she showed us her ‘door fence’ but then, we got a peek into the rest of her garden and Wow!
Josephine Alexander does explain….”This door fence was inspired by those I saw on Flea Market Gardening. Most of the doors were scavenged, some were donated, a few were purchased ($8 was highest price) at a re-source store.”
“Almost everything in this picture is up-cycled including the bench and floral comforter that covers it. Some of the doors were pulled out of trash on the roadside. All the teapots were scavenged, as were the wreaths and other bits that festoon the doors. My sister got the mirror at a yard sale.”
Question: Have you had to doors up for sometime now? Wonder how they hold up to the elements? And are those hydrangea?
Josephine says, “The doors were put in place last October …. most of them were already weather distressed…. so it remains to be seen how they hold up! Yes, they are Hydrangea ‘Annabelle.’ One of the few that can thrive under walnut trees.”
“I believe I was apprenticed into the fleamarketing world by my Mother. She was not a gardener, but she never passed up a bargain for her home decor. So, I am genetically predisposed.’
“I became a gardener at the age of 30.” Jo confides. “In fact my life as a gardener began with a cast off Family Circle magazine. When I picked it up – a packet of marigold seeds fell into my lap. I had just had my son, and with baby expenses I didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together. So I took the free packet of seeds, dug up a little patch in my yard and planted them. When those little green sprouts grew and then produced d fiery orange blossoms, I was hooked. What started as a marketing endeavor for W. Atlee Burpee, was an epiphany for me!”
“Then I wanted pots for my front porch,” Jo says, “so I went scavenging flea markets for creative, inexpensive solutions. I am also a mosaic artist, and I love to use old broken dishes, old jewelry and scraps discarded by stained glass artists. I have large mosaics installed in my garden.”
Jo says, “I live on a farm that is nestled into a bend on the Big Conewago. near Lewisberry in South Central Pennsylvania…. lots of land. I am trying to create a smaller and more intimate space, a secret garden, reminiscent of my in-town gardens from my younger years. The thing about gardeners is, isn’t It?,…we can never get enough of being with plants and flowers?!”
“My front porch. My sister Patti, the Queen of the Yard Sale and the junk pile and the trash pile scored the chairs for me- I painted them … they are definitely falling apart, but I love them. My friend, Debbie, The other Queen of the Yard Sale, etc. gave me the colorful scarves!”
Jo has seen Becky Norris’s mosaic pieces in our group and thinks her work is, she says, “absolutely stunning! I, too, am a mosaic artist. My tip is, do not be afraid to play with this art form. Pictured here are St Francis and Mermaid Cordelia watching over my pond!”
“Dame’s Rocket wildflowers grow wild along the creek and I transplanted a few. The places where they grow wild on the farm are shady or right at the edge of the trees and they remind me of tall summer phlox….that come early!”
Two more of Josephine’s brilliant mosaics.
“This is how I work,” Jo tells us,”…and then my sweet hubby shows up with the vacuum…. and I have to shoo him away.”
Meander through more of Jo’s fantastical garden…
Little altars abound around here! This is an old glass topped bar my sister pulled out of trash on the road side, which I painted and mosaicked.
“This table was made from an old pallet, a butterfly mosaic and the Mermaid was a gift from my daughter!”
“My mosaicked bird bath no longer holds water… but it does hold shells and paperweights!”
“When I look out at the February landscape…I start to think it can’t possibly create the green alchemy that produces summer. And then it does…..” Jo says.
“I wish it was a true she shed with sweet decor and a fluffy sofa…. but it is a working shed….. full of garden stuff and mosaic stuff.”
What do Josephine’s friends say about her ‘door fence’ in particular and other garden projects?
Jo tells us, “My friends, and hubby, said while I was collecting the doors, lots of things. Things like: “are you crazy?” (probably) “What are you going to do with that junk?” (You’ll see) “This trash is taking up too much space in the barn.” Etc. Now they think it is “pretty”, “a conversation piece” and “lots of fun……”
”Really, I saw one on FMG and knew I had to make one. LOVE FMG!”