I live in an itsy bitsy cottage, freestanding – a rare point of pride in this ridiculously overpriced paradise – and in many ways falling apart. I adore it. In our short 9 months together, these sagging walls have seen some of my darkest, some of my strangest, some of my very happiest and most transformative days.
And it’s taking me time to fully occupy this space. I’m not finished yet. Bare walls still stare at me starkly, begging for art. The bathroom is chipped and mildewed; it’s yet to get painted. The list goes on and on. It’s a process, I guess, this single-parenting / part-time-working / full-time-figuring-out-what-to-do-with-my-life . . . and trying to put together a house.
But it’s a fun process!
One of my favorite parts so far has been in the yard and garden. I don’t have vegetables like I did in Portland, because there’s lead in the soil I think, and also because I just don’t have time. But I do have plants. Because I can’t not have plants. I have herbs in pots, and succulents everywhere, and even some zinnias. Next year I’ll have more.
And I’ve made a great game of creatively repurposing random unwanted items into fantastic receptacles for all my precious plants. These are often born of form – because I do so love the look of a really good upcycling – but they’re also mostly born of function (because I still have a raging case of The Poors). Here are a few of my favorite recent projects:
I’ve recently come into a near-endless supply of truly fantastic wooden wine boxes. The result has been that my little beachy bungalow is beginning to have a real motif, which I’ve dubbed “wine box chic”. See?
They’re pretty cute around the house, no? But this is supposed to be about the outdoors, and yes I’ve been using them there as well. They make the very best planter boxes, for cacti:
And for herbs:
Come to think of it, that flower to the right is in its own upcycled pot as well – a vintage soup mug! I have a whole collection of little plants in vintage mugs (I always drill a hole in the bottom for better drainage). I think they’re so dang cute!
So anyway, speaking of wine . . .
Back at the beginning of summer I posted a tutorial for making hanging tomato planters out of old gallon water bottles, which, in case you were wondering, has been working out splendidly. And in that post, Monika mentioned that she was planning on doing something similar with wine bottles. “Genius!” I thought, and immediately begin to save my bottles.
I haven’t been using this old decorative hanging wine rack because it no longer suits my style (I got it in college), but I just wasn’t ready to let go of it. And now I’m so glad I didn’t! Because with their bottoms cut off, wine bottles make the most lovely little succulent planters.
This one, again, will look even better once the plants fill out. I’ll keep you updated!
And finally, have you ever looked at a piece of *junk* and just been able to see right into it, to see its potential? To see the possibility of what it might be? I was driving Waits to preschool one morning a few months back, and there on the side of the road, I saw this:
What is that thing? Does anyone know? Like a wooden vent cover, or some sort of shutter type thing? I don’t know, but one person’s trash is another person’s treasure and for some reason, in that weird wooden thing my brain saw TREASURE. I tried to stop, couldn’t make it in time, swung around the block, pulled over, and threw it in the back of my Subaru. I carted it home, and there it sat for many many weeks while I was busy doing many other things.
I knew all along, of course, exactly what I wanted to do with it. And a few weekends back, I finally found the time.
I stapled old scrap chicken wire to the back, a couple of layers staggered to create a fine mesh that would prevent potting soil from slipping through. Then I filled each tier with soil, and Waits and I transplanted a bunch of pups from my godparent’s property. Now we have an awesome vertical succulent garden!
He helped me place each one. He has a good eye for composition, don’t you think?
I’ve had so much fun creating a little haven of upcycled and repurposed wonders in my yard this year, and I can’t wait to make new additions. It’s sooo super cliche for bloggers to ask a questions at the end of a post, but here’s a for-reals one – what are your favorite upcycled garden projects you’ve seen around the net? (or have done yourself!) Feel free to share links in the comments below!