Re-use, recycle and re-purpose to make unique and useful garden art with rustic salvage. I make gadgets and gizmos and fun ways to display my succulent collection out of rustic items I salvage from the recycle center, junk piles out behind old barns and at local garage sales.
I run the risk of being classed as a hoarder, as I have the battle cry – you never know when you might need that – as I put the salvaged and rescued item on a shelf for later use.
I routinely go to the recycle center and the thrift store, sometimes finding nothing that appeals to me, sometimes a windfall of old junk that I can re-purpose into something useful or decorative for my micro farm and nursery.
Gems hide in the goodwill store in the form of enamel pots, glass fish bowls and chipped china compotes or tea pots. Don't overlook any object that could possibly hold soil and be planted with succulent plants, or could be a hanger for a rustic garden sign. Be creative, and think outside the box.
Even shoes and boots, or handbags will make an incredibly whimsical container for succulents.
Here are a few things I’ve recycled and made into a useful tool or garden art:
My favorite things to collect are rusty old metal things; hooks, hinges, clasps; old horse tack like this hame (part of a draft horse collar); worn out boots and other leather items that I can plant with something drought tolerant, and any other item that looks promising – even worn out baskets, as I use them for a mold for a hypertufa pot.
A recycled coffee can makes a great protection device for outside outlets, which should be a ground fault interrupter circuit, but on old trailers and houses built when it wasn’t a requirement of the electrical code here’s a useful gadget.
The coffee can protects the outlet from rain and ice falling off the roof where there is no overhang. You can also use these to hang hoses near a hose bib.
Old kitchen items such as a wok that has gone too rusty to cook in, or old enameled coffee pots or cooking pots can be used for for collecting the bounty from your sustainable garden.
Light fixtures, out of date and discarded, make wonderful rain chains.
make planters out of old rusty cans which I save for this purpose, burn
in a bonfire to take off any factory finish such as paint or varnish,
and then attach them to a piece of salvaged dimension lumber, wire on a
twig handle, and plant them with Sedum and other Drought Smart Plants. Look at these weathering and distressing techniques and find out how to make metal look old on the sister site, Blue Fox Farm.
Discarded satellite dishes are ideal as shallow planters for Jovibarba and Sempervivum hens and chicks plants, sometimes stacking them like a three tiered fountain, dripping with Sedum instead of water.
I use a spring from a screen door to hold the door of the greenhouse closed. Due to settling the door doesn’t latch properly and if there’s a strong wind, the door will blow open.
I use lots of spring hooks around the place, to keep the door or window open or closed until I’m ready to change its status.
My egg dowser is a bolt with a hole through it meant for a cotter pin, but perfect for threading the fishing line or string through.
I always keep my eyes open for stuff other people see no use for – the junk, refuse, trash and garbage. If I see things that others don’t see the potential of, I quietly go about getting possession of it.
I never steal, as most of these items are seen as useless, so asking usually works well, and now I even have other people on the look out for strange salvage for me to work my magic on.
But just wait - I’ll make something out of that, don’t throw it away!
Join me for the Succulent Crafts E-Course, coming soon:
This online course is an immersion into all things succulent; whether your focus is on making a mosaic, or some great topiary, or some other really unique garden crafts, this course will cover it all.
Click on the picture for more information:
Xeric gardens, due to the fact that at times the plants look a little tired of never being watered, benefit from really unique focal points to take the eye away from the bedraggled plants.
Here are a few rustic crafts that I showcase my succulents in:
Rustic salvage gives you the opportunity to save something from a fate worse than death in the landfill - look out for thrift store finds that you can use to plant succulents in...
But if you notice some of these signs and symptoms, it might be too late for you; the succulent obsession has got you:
you might have the obsession.
Sorry, there's no cure except to add more plants to your collection!