A Touch of Whimsy

Ever since the magazine Flea Market Garden first hit the stands (late February, I think?) I’ve been itching to add “a touch of whimsy” to my backyard. (Note: “whimsy” can be defined as “items that add visual interest” or “a collection of crap that used to be inside my house and are now outside.”). This method of decorating is when it pays off to be a collector of obtainium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe broken chair I painted and used in my garden last year got a fresh coat of paint and moved to a new spot in our backyard. It’s being kept company by a pair of metal plant holders I found at the recycling center (a coat of spray paint shined those right up), plus a welcome sign that hung on the door to my office (when I had an office). I’ve sworn off buying any annuals this year (seems like such a waste of money), but will come up with something green/living to add to this tableau.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeneath our sibling tree (planted in memory of the two miscarriages we had between the births of our two sons), I parked a couple of metal flowers and a deviled egg plate that I broke (but with the broken part shoved in the ground, who can tell?).

Look closely and in front of the plate you’ll see a surprise guest: part of the orange mint plant I grew last year. It was a container plant and lived happily under that tree, until it met a horrible death last winter, when our dog tried to bury something beneath it. But some of it must have been left behind and lay dormant, until it could make its triumphant return (hooray for perennials!).


And then there’s our rose bed. We added some metal stands to help support the climbing rose bushes that the previous owners planted (without giving them anything to climb!) and another welcome sign that had been languishing in a closet until its appointed turn on the front door. But I’m most proud of finally putting my blue dishes to good use. We got those from Pier One when we were first married. Over the years, the plates became scuffed, pieces broke, and we put the remnants of the set away because, well, it was our first. Now the plates line our rose bed and a little bowl and saucer (attached to the top of an old table leg that I got for $1!) serves as a bird bath.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast, but not least, is our fence-line, where we used the fabulous and free wood chips to cover the weeds and hopefully begin improving the soil.

The planters and large garden bed hold tiny vegetable plants (beans, peas, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes), started from free seeds we got from our library. They’re not growing very quickly or heartily, but the view is so pleasant that I’m content.

We’re not done decorating, but we’re not in a rush, either. It’s fun to glean unused objects from our home and let them see the light of day in our whimsical back yard. Best of all, none of it needs watering!


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