Creating Garden Art from the Cast-offs of Others

| 7/1/2019 12:45:00 PM

close-up of vignette 

A few years ago a good friend—who knows my proclivities for repurposing the cast-offs of others well—called to see if I would be interested in a cut-up utility pole they were removing from a local park. It was no surprise to him that I said, “Of course! Bring it on over!”

Very quickly I realized these pieces might be useful in building a bed to help screen off my wildlife condominium—one of my treasured features that others in the community might not be so excited to have in plain sight. I hurriedly rolled the posts into place and propped them up with bark chips and concrete blocks knowing that I’d do a more permanent job sooner or later.

I soon realized that I had a rustic old piece of picket fence rescued along with some bricks (for free from an online group) that might work well as part of the scene. I then found some old window shutters to add from my father-in-law’s house. These shutters were original to the house—built in the early 1950s—that hadn’t been in use for years. I thought they would come in handy for backing the post pieces that weren’t quite tall enough for my screening purposes.

I set all these things in place and slowly built up a nice mound of arborist chips in front of them. I used bits and pieces that I didn’t want to use in the rest of my garden because of size—pieces that would take longer to break down since I wasn’t planning to plant right away.

Since I spend long hours keeping the beds I already have planted in shape, I didn’t want to pause to make this backdrop permanent. This delay also allowed me to live with the bed while deciding if it was my final choice. The muffler was added one day when I noticed it at the end of our driveway. I loved how the rusted circle mirrored the knots on the post pieces. For me it was a natural fit.

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