My favorite gardeners in Portland are ones that can just shove plants in the ground without worry and turn random objects into garden art. My Aunt Teri seems to have that knack. She’s not slaving away outside, yet her backyard has this English cottage feel where everything thrives in this simply elegant way. She also has a knack for finding little treasures at estate sales and just casting them outside, landing in the perfect spot. Her yard is wild with clematic rambling over trellises, a banged up statue covered with fuzzy moss, and a ratty wicker chair acting as support for a peony resting where the seat used to be.

I am a little too anal to have that kind of casual elegance. So if you see something cool in my garden, chances are I wracked my brain to come up with that idea. Some ideas like the bean/pea tee pee I saw in other great gardens. The peas are now chopped down, as they started to yellow with the increased heat, so beans are now getting their start in place.
I am really proud of myself for this most recent garden art idea. My sister inherited a bed frame that she didn’t need and we couldn’t find a home for. I saw that as the perfect opportunity to force some “casual garden art” outside. I planned to use them as a grape trellis, but my husband Jay had the clever idea to put them at either end of my garden beds, a couple feet from the edges so I can still walk around them. I think they are funny – bed frame/garden beds – so I am keeping my eye out for another free bed frame to put on either side of the other two garden beds. And my grape is much happier now with the support.
Where did this pole come from? I think we removed it from some old plumbing that was defunct. We’re working on training the hops to grow up and around, which saves me from making another support structure for it. I like to combine utilitarian with my little creations…

And now enter the “projects” category. My sister replaced her old windows with nice new vinyl windows (I have window envy, since our house is from 1927 and pretty much the same temperature outside as in…). I plan to use this fabulous pile of old windows to build a small greenhouse. There isn’t a good system for growing from seed in my little house, and this saves me the cash buying all the equipment. All I need now is figure out how to build a fricking greenhouse… I did figure out how to build a 4’x6′ coop, so I feel like I’m not out of my league.

Finally, Jay picked up these little light globes on a corner where someone was giving them away from free. I just KNOW if I think hard enough the idea will come to me… Of course if you have a bright idea on how to use these, I’d love to hear it! I’m also wondering where everyone gets their ideas. Is there some great book I’ve missed, or are you guys just borrowing ideas from other cool gardens you’ve seen?
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Written by Renee Wilkinson