Thursday, June 23, 2011

Garden Party

Plant the seeds for a beautiful summer with flea market finds for the garden.

What's better than a flea market? A flea market with a view! We are lucky enough to have one of the largest--and most picturesque--swap meets in the country right here in our neck of the woods. The Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire is situated on San Francisco Bay, with panoramic views of the city's spectacular skyline. This scenic (and huge!) market is held the first Sunday of every month, and you can be sure you'll see us there with our sun-hats on and our handy cart in tow.

On our latest Alameda adventure, we were looking for unique items to give the backyard some springtime flair. We saw literally tons of statuary (it's usually made of concrete!), from a classic garden gnome to a pair of cement deer. Kitty collected a trio of rusty watering cans that would make playful planters. And Jennifer found a wrought-iron chair that would mix in well with her vintage chaise lounges--at only $15, it was worth hauling around the rest of the day. But we knew we hit pay dirt when we discovered dozens of berry boxes painted blue, green, red, and yellow. The vendor was asking $13 apiece, but since we picked out one of each, we talked him down to $10. We can't wait to get them home and plant some color in our garden!

Tools Paradise
If you've ever wanted to take up gardening, the flea market is an inspiring place to get outfitted. One-of-a-kind handicrafts, like a primitive wooden tool caddy with a branch for a handle, will add a level of artistry to your weeding. An old-fashioned find like a glass jar pump sprayer could lend a spritz of nostalgia to your bug killin'. Don't forget hand tools like claw tillers and trowels. Skip ones with split wood handles and loose heads and go for lightly worn tools. Their charm and history just may bring victory to your garden.

Cultivate Your Garden
Put your decorating skills to work outside by thinking of your yard as an open-air living room! To create a cozy niche, start by hanging a weathered windowpane from a shady tree. Give a wirework settee a fresh coat of paint and a comfy cushion for a pretty little perch. If you find an old dresser, turn it into a potting bench by removing the drawers and using the shelves to store terra cotta pots, herb markers, and twine. Finally, add a focal point with an Amish Barn Star recycled from a tin roof. Mother Nature will love what you've done with the place!

Expect To Pay
Hand Tools $1 to $8
Pump Sprayers $8 to $20
Wooden Tool Caddies $10 to $25
Watering Cans $10 to $30
Old Dressers $10 to $50
Weathered Windowpanes $10 and up
Whirligigs $20 and up
Concrete Garden Gnomes $25
Amish Barn Stars $35 to $80
Stained Glass Windowpanes $50 and up

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