It’s not junk, it’s garden art

Janice Wells
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Last week’s column about garden whimsy struck a chord with local gardeners and also brought this response from cyberspace: “Great article! ‘Repurposing when repurposing wasn’t cool.’ I’m proud of it, too! This is what we do at Flea Market Gardening, our busy and very friendly Facebook page. … Dozens of new garden ideas are posted there daily, all accomplished by the gardener him or herself, so we can ask questions and make comments. If you feel like this article ‘resembles’ you, please join us there. You’ll have fun, too. … Sue at”

 I’m not sure even I knew how cool we repurposers are. I don’t spend much time searching the Internet for like-minded people; I’m hopeless on Facebook; haven’t posted anything since I stumbled onto it years ago; don’t blog or read blogs, and don’t tweet.

I’m finally embarrassed about not texting and am determined to do something about it as soon as I get a new phone, which will be as soon as Newman and I figure out what is the best one to get, which will probably be never, as we have been talking about it for ages and he is just as technically challenged/

lazy/downright geezerish as I am.

We’ve been away for over a week; forgot the laptop and it didn’t once occur to me that I could check my email on my tablet (which I only wanted for audio books anyway). That’s how bad I am.

But today, instead of giving myself a hard time for not being very technology-savvy or media sociable, I have chosen to be pleased with myself for being a junk collector.

Newman is also pleased with me; pleased because I chose to move some of my garden junk from Eastport to Heart’s Content.

Unfortunately for him, as I write, his van, parked outside his workplace, is still piled with my junk, and he is probably going around the office in mortification.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he is telling barefaced lies about being on his way to the dump, but I promise to take before and after pictures of my junk once it has settled into its new home, and then you can be the judge.

Of course, I did have a look at the above-mentioned Flea Market Gardening site and it is a good one. It’s better than the others I found when I Googled “garden junk.”

Of course there is a danger in getting hooked, if, in fact, you aren’t already, and I am sure Newman will rue the day that I found

He will like the fact that if I cannot resist old rusty things, at least I will be aided and abetted in coming up with creative ways to use them, but his rue (not to be confused with meadow rue — ha-ha) will come from the fact that I may occasionally need him to aid and abet me in transforming my stuff into garden treasures.

He will have another year or two to get his drill bits in order and gird his mental loins, because I won’t be ready to start gardening out there for a while.

Hauling stuff around the country because you just like it for some reason, and you just know you will find the perfect home for it, eventually might seem a bit extreme to normal people — i.e., people without the junk vision gene — but perhaps you can try to think of us as rescue people, rescuing things from landfills.

Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about a property full of old junk just lying around. That does not a garden make.

I’m personally not fond of anything too kitschy or precious, either, but I am always impressed by ingenuity, creativity and anything to do with recycling/reusing/repurposing.

It’s yard sale season; arm yourself with some ideas and think garden.


Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. Her latest book, “Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts,” was published in October 2010 by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing Inc. You can reach her at

Organizations: MacIntyre Purcell Publishing

Geographic location: Eastport

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