The prefix for this time in history is “re”. From it has come such words as recycled, repurposed and refocused. These are all things we can do with old stuff to make it interesting, attractive and useful. The “REs” are important components of today’s sustainability movement.
When we think of repurposed items in the garden, planters are often the first things that come to mind. Our imagination is the only limiting factor in determining what can be repurposed into a planter. Check them out as you drive around. Some repurposed planters that immediately come to mind are old car wheels, bathtubs, sawed-off barrels, chairs…the list is endless. Anything that strikes your fancy, or anything laying around the house, can be transformed into a repurposed planter. The nice part of doing this is that, if you don’t like the outcome, you were going to toss it out anyway. The only thing you are out is your labor to paint or make repairs to prepare the container for its new role.
Garden art is another area where repurposing or refocusing can result in inexpensive, unique pieces. What is garden art? It’s whatever you want it to be. It may be a planter, or it could be just art. Garden art that you repurpose yourself or buy at flea markets are much more reflective of your personality and creativity than the garden gnomes that everyone else has. The Internet is full of ideas. Just google “repurposed garden art” and the first item is an extensive photo gallery. The image that accompanies this blog is from our gallery. It was taken in Portland, Oregon and shows creative repurposing of industrial ventilation housings into yard art and a planter.
Bottle trees are relatively new repurposed garden art. It probably began with a creative person hanging an empty wine bottle on the dead branch of a tree. From there, the idea mushroomed to include bottles on all of the branches of a dead tree. Now bottle trees have even gone commercial, complete with steel rod trunks and branches. The idea is popular enough, especially in the south, that garden writer Felder Rushing wrote a whole book on bottle trees. He’s the garden writer who has also promoted the idea of slow gardening.
While bottle trees are most popular in the south, there is no reason why we can’t have them here in our area. Why not be the first in your neighborhood to have one? That would really show your gardening creativity.