Nell is a dear friend of our Flea Market Gardening Facebook page. A frequent commenter, she cheers others on while at the same time creating a rustic garden with help from a surprising source. I think you’ll LOVE her inspiring garden, so here’s the story in her own words.
Hello, my name is Nell Howard Stelzer. I garden in Waldorf, MD which is in Zone 7A. I was born and raised in Kentucky and I have always had flower gardens, vegetables and some fruits.
My influences for gardening are from my father and my grandmother. My grandmother always used old enameled pans that became too old to use safely in the kitchen. I loved this look even as a child. My father used old containers, barrels and whatever he had to plant flowers. He made lots of wooden characters for his gardens. He taught me how to start flowers and plants from seeds or rooting.
Welcome to my garden! This pot has orange sherbet million bells, purple petunias and pink lobelia with the dracaena.
“I found out about Flea Market Gardening through my best friend from junior high school when it was still in it’s early days, she was sharing photos of flowers and cool things with them. I went to the page and was totally hooked! I had already used flower stakes with signs or trellises with objects welded in them. I would try to find rustic containers for flowers. This page was challenging my inner being to the way I was accustomed to seeing gardening from my early childhood.”
Nell began by making dish flowers one summer…and devised a way to attach the rod ‘stem’ and leaves. Of course, she shared this with us!
Nell says, “There is one item that I had to have when I first found Flea Market Gardening! It was a wooden wheelbarrow, filled with flowers, posted by Lynn Mann. I showed it to my father in law, who loves making anything from old barn wood, discarded wood or pallets. He had it finished in about a week, even with a wooden wheel that rolls. My father in law helped me to create a new garden area that I call my “Split Rail Garden”. It was an area that grass did not grow well in.”
The wheelbarrow has a place in that garden. I have added so many Flea Market Gardening items. I finally added rust when a metal bucket that I left out during the fall started rusting. My father in law made a wooden wishing well for me, complete with a handmade bucket and a potting bench. I am so fortunate to have such a talented father in law.
I had a request to post a picture of him, Ken Stelzer, who makes great wooden projects, so I did! I have posted pictures before of the chess sets, wheelbarrows and wishing wells that he has made us. He loves working with wood and it keeps him occupied. We love receiving the projects when finished!
My potting bench is finished and in it’s new spot. My yard cart has a new parking spot! My father-in-law made this out of three oak pallets for me. My sister in law had the lattice, we added it in May and I painted it all one recent morning.
My tipsy pots, I changed to four colors of million bells. I have a double pink, Dreamsicle orange, magenta pink and saffron. This saffron has a red-orange center. I love million bells and think I have a great color range of them! The other two pots have hens and chicks and a trailing succulent.
I have two bowling balls, one that has red, white and blue gems and the other I painted hammered copper. I have a wrought iron patio set that I thought about letting rust but painted red, white and blue. I love spray painting to change looks when I feel the need.
I hope to do some projects this fall. I want to join my two existing gardens to become one and I want to do a small wildflower garden in part of our yard that grass is refusing to grow. I have some seeds from my Dad that I hope will grow.
I love being able to browse through all of the many Flea Market Gardening albums to get new ideas. I have been so inspired by many of our “Flea Folks” and I hope that I have inspired others, too!”
One last story from our friend, Nell,…in a message to me she wrote, “I saw one of my younger neighbors and her 5 year old daughter at the grocery last week. The child asked which house did I live in and I told her I had a flower garden to the side of our yard. The child asked the one with all of the fun stuff? I smiled and said yes that’s mine. She said I love your garden! I told her to stop and look at it. I want the love for ‘FMG’ to show and I guess it does.”
Nell, you are truly one of our flea folk and if you can inspire a child to love a garden, then your hard work has really meant something in this world. We’ll be watching for the next project you accomplish. And give that father in law of yours a big hug! He’s a flea folk, too. ~~ Sue
See ALL of Nell’s garden and craft photos: