Saturday, April 29, 2006

Spring is Here and it's Time for Gardening with Antiques

I just love playing in the dirt. When I was a toddler, my mother couldn't keep me out of her flower garden, and especially, couldn't keep me from picking her latest blooms and presenting them individually to her as my Toddler Bouquet (but always, just one blossom!!).

She really didn't want to discourage me, yet her garden was quickly being decimated, since I loved ALL her flowers. Finally, she told me politely but firmly that she had enough flowers from me, and would I please allow some of them to grow. Since I was a bit headstrong, that request was soon followed by a stern "No! Don't touch!"

Not a lot fazed me as a child. Even my mother's warning wasn't enough to discourage me, and I knew serious consequences could follow if I continued with the flower presentations. But I did love those pretty blooms, and soon my mother turned around from her weeding in time to see me not touch her few remaining flowers - instead, I was caught biting them off with my teeth! (even at an early age, I did tend to think outside the box . . .)

And so my gardening interests began when I was about three, and I've enjoyed getting dirty ever since. Combined with my love of antiques and digging around in old attics and barns, it just seems right to combine gardening and antiques. I'm always hunting for something old, unusual and meant to be part of a garden display.

Specifically, I search for old gates and fencing, vintage cement statuary and planters, 19th century grinding wheels, fountains, architectural building elements, big old cast iron pots, and interesting farming items.

By being a bit creative, I've found all sorts of things will hold annual plants; not just antiques, but anything that is old and has character - a single old hightop workboot, a hollowed-out tree trunk, even a cracked crock that was just too interesting to toss out.

But antiques don't have to hold plants. Often, just having something colorful to complement a garden display is quite interesting, too. How about three or four graduated sizes of large stones, stacked artistically one on top the other to make a garden statement? And, just for a change, one year I used a whole series of damaged dinner plates I'd salvaged, and lined the edge of a flower garden as a glazed border!

Gardens are the perfect place to use non-perfect antiques and collectibles for decoration. They are so unexpected in that setting, and yet they can be so delightful. Have fun trying oddball decor - if it's something old and you like it, it'll look great as your own personal style of decoration in your garden!

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