Friday, March 18, 2011

Fertilizer Friday: A Bit of Jimsy

It's Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday again!  This week Tootsie asked us to share any whimsical or unusual plantings we have in our gardens.  I'm not sure if my containers fall under the category of 'whimsy'--I think they lean more to 'junk'. ( I was going to spell the word 'junk' all fancy-like, as in 'Junque', but on second thought, decided against it.  To be spelled fancy, a thing needs to be less junk-like.) 

Junk + Whimsy....hey, it's Jimsy!

As I have mentioned more than once before, Carl is a Certified JC (Junk Collector) and sees potential in everything which turns me into a Certifiable Crazy person at times, but now and again, he brings home something even I see potential in.  Case in point:

 Aluminum light shades from a dumpster.  Lovely?  Not really.

When Carl brought home about sixteen of these ten years ago,  I wasn't too thrilled until I thought it over....hmmmm.....I wanted to plant flowers along the driveway to brighten things up.  We didn't have enough money to purchase big, matching containers, and these things are aluminum which means they won't rust and they have kind of pretty indentations on them and a big hole in the bottom for the lightbulb AND they were very lightweight,  so let's give it a shot.  Even though they aren't very pretty, once the plants start filling in, you can't see the lightshade anyway.  Here's a few photos of them over the years:
This one was sitting on the ground because I didn't have a plant stand for it.

We eventually found three wrought iron plant stands which were heavy enough to hold the weight of the light shade planters, but they tip over in heavy winds.  When Carl came across some industrial equipment parts two years ago I didn't care what his plans for them were, I decided they would be my new plant stands. 
The solid iron 'plant stands' don't look like anything fancy--this one is rusting a bit, but they won't tip over, (trust me) and nobody is going to easily steal them either.  Each one weighs over 250 pounds.    I only have three of them, but they really work great.  (As long as you don't have to move them.  Which we don't.)
 Once the flowers start to grow though, you can't tell what they are growing in or the pots are sitting on, so it doesn't matter all that much. 

You never know what's lurking under some pretty flowers, do you?
With Carl's light shades, I can have some color along the driveway.
Even sitting right on the ground, they work out pretty good.
Moving on, here's a little wire basket Carl also found in the dumpster at work.  With a little paint and a moss liner, we have another planter.
Ok, he does bring home some good stuff once in awhile. 
For my birthday a few years ago, my father-in-law welded me up a watering can. 
I added the wires to the sides because, though it was cute, I wanted to plant something in it.  I stuffed a heavy plastic bag into the middle of the sculpture and filled it with potting soil.  Then I poked holes in the bag for planting areas and:
Wait....what happened to the watering can?  Well, before the impatiens grew so much, you could see what it was supposed to be....I guess I didn't plan ahead.  Now it's a big, pink blob!
There's a watering can in there somewhere.
The next container isn't really whimsical, but I just have to add it.
My father-in-law found this old planter in a junk yard ready to be sold for scrap over 30 years ago.  He bought it for scrap metal price and brought it home and fixed it up.  About 20 years ago, he gave it to us.  I am so glad he did!

Carl's Aunt Mary Ann gave us this unusual planter...she thought it may have been an ash tray in it's former life.  I can't find a picture of this one with a pot of flowers in full bloom, but here's one of a garden visitor enjoying the plant stand:
Hi there!

When Carl was a kid in high school, he took a class in metals.  They had to make a project for their class out of, uh, metal, so Carl decided to make a big nail.  (I don't know why....he has always been eccentric!)  It was a very big nail, standing almost 5' tall with a pointy end and a flat head.  For years the Nail sat in our garage until one day Carl said I could have it for a plant stand.  First the Nail went to my mom's for a new paint job, and then we dug a hole and planted it in the back yard and plunked a flower pot on top of it:
Voila, another vertical plant stand---aka 'The Nail'

Carl's dad is the local blacksmith who started out doing farm repair and then eventually made railings for a living.  Every now and then, he would come across some old railings he found in the junk or had spare parts here and there leftover from other railing jobs and he will often toss them our way.  Carl took these heavy iron castings and made me a vertical plant stand:
Unfortunately, he was a few castings short for the stand, but someday we might find their match.  Until then, it works just the way it is.
I just cram a big container from a tree we bought in the top and plant a bunch of drooping stuff in it.
For years, the cast iron plant stand stood near the driveway, but last summer, I moved it out to the back yard.  Eileen from Gatsby's Gardens was showing us in her blog how going vertical with tall containers is the new trend this year, and I can see why.  Sometimes a tall container or plant stand is just what you need in a color-challenged area of the garden.  Here it is again in it's old place in the garden:
And then in it's new place: 
A couple of years ago, we came across another old urn for a song and brought it home.  The only trouble with the urn was how short it was.  Joel came to the rescue with an idea; he had found an old tool stand which was going to be tossed out.  We put the urn and the old tool stand together with some more orphaned railing parts to dress up the base and:

Carl still eyeballs the old tool stand wistfully, he says when he finds a use for it, he'll be taking it back.  

That's what he thinks.  The Management around here thinks differently. 

Thanks to Tootsie for a great idea for a post today.  I'm so sick of looking at snow and mud here and the process of posting took my mind off the mess outside.  

Thanks also to Carl and his dad for their great welding expertise.  

Now I have to plan what's going in those light shades this year.........


Darla said...

Every single container featured here is just fantastic! I love how you use all types of things...

Alison said...

All of your repurposed containers are cool, but my favorites are the last two, with the wrought iron added to them. I love Carl's big nail too. I bet putting that in the ground would have been a lot easier if you had a great big hammer as well!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Karen. Girl I love them all. What great ideas and use of some container whimsy. I am a firm believer that if holds dirt.... LOL!My son never tosses anything away anymore until he sees if I want to use it for flowers.I am crazy about your plant stands. Not to mention all of those beautiful flowers spilling over from them.

Zoey said...

Wow, Karen, you have the best junk in all of blogland! I love Carl's light shades. You are a very lucky lady to have all of these marvelous containers. They are so much better than the true junk most of us have to buy today!

Sandy said...

Ok Karen.. am I missing something here.. just a few weeks ago you were knee deep in snow and now the flowers and plants are all beautiful and perfect? Let me go read again.. what ever you did.. your yard and all your garden containers are just beautiful...
Happy Spring

Sall's Country Life said...

Carl has a good eye for junk! And you have a real talent for filling them. Your flowers and containers are all just gorgeous. What a cheap way to spruce up a place huh?

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Oh wow you save unwanted things and turn them to be useful. So creative. Visitors won't know what lurking at the bottom. Your flower are blooming happy and look so healthy!

Dragonfly Treasure said...

I love visiting your blog! Everthting is always so cool! Poor angel almost got tossed :(
Loved all the found items!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, these are all wonderful and unique. Your post is a tutorial for those who think tossed items are junk.

I'll be looking a little harder from now on.


Tootsie said...

it is all just sooooo gorgeous!!! I want that iron table and chairs! thanks for linking in this week and dazzling us with your flowers!

xoxoxo said...

I love the Junque! I never would have thought they could be useful! My brain is sooo boring! If only I knew how to make those flower combinations!

Jean said...

You know I love junk! All you plant holders are amazing! I get tired of watering so I don't have too many. Great ideas! Jean said...

Very nice finds and creations. It is nice Carl and family think of you and your garden. I would have a problem remembering to do all the watering though. My welder husband never made anything for the garden. He does not even fix stuff either, so I will never have any additional plant stands than those that I buy.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Once again you have amazed me with your resourcefulness and creativity -- making something out of "junk." I guess you could have called it "junksy" too :-) I love the wrought iron pieces!!! Beautiful!! And I love the big flowing blooms in the containers. Sometimes hard to get containers to do that here with our 100+ temps.

lifeshighway said...

I love your containers especially the aluminum shades. I think Carl needs to come this way and find me some original whimsy planters. I am going to the flea market with a new mission.

I love having a mission.

Kelsie From Our Country Home said...

Loving all your plant have given me oodles of ideas (because I need more hehe) for things for hubby to make me mahahaha...I would do it myself but have my hands full raising our 2yr old lol.

I will be looking out for old railings from now on.

Blessings Kelsie