In her southwest Missouri garden, Linda Heman uses vintage finds and cast-offs from friends and family to decorate her landscape beds.
A metal arch covered in trumpet vine beckons visitors into the backyard.
Borders are decorated with hanging birdcages, concrete flamingos, a bright pink bench and a planted washtub.
Unique edging materials are among Linda’s gardening trademarks. A line of colorful bowling balls defines this border. A potted container inside an old frame hangs on a vintage door, creating an eye-catching tableau.
Linda’s backyard is under heavy shade (see her front and side gardens here) so the focus is on structures and containers.
A friend dubbed the red shed “The Hut.” Once a chicken house, it’s now a workspace where Linda has hosted a birthday tea party for her sister.
“A carpenter friend helped me bring it back to life by adding a cupola, an awning over a new door and a stained glass window,” Linda says.
Linda says she went through a case of caulk and several gallons of paint to get the Hut to its current condition. License plates make a creative window awning.
“It really became a matter of saving face for me” she says. “Most people thought it was a lost cause, but they all love it now!” Linda displays collectibles and mementos here, such as the photo of her grandmother in her garden.
Inside, the built-in workbench is handy for party serving or crafting.
Linda recalls a compliment from her niece: “There is something for everyone in your garden and no matter how many times you walk through, you find you haven’t seen all the little details.”
The Hut’s window well box contains angel wing begonias, ivy and asparagus ferns. “The lighting is a bit dappled here, so these plants seem to thrive,” Linda says.
CRAFT AN UPCYCLED WINDOW BOX
Get the look of Linda’s country chic galvanized metal window well box with a few easy steps.
- MAKE IT Linda’s carpenter attached a half-circle wood bottom and vinyl siding on the back of a curved piece of galvanized metal. She then lined the whole piece with plastic, drilled a hole in the bottom (a drill fitted with a one-inch paddle bit works nicely) and inserted a drainage tube. For longer boxes, space several holes six inches apart. Attach the box to the outside wall under the windowsill using screws drilled through the back of the vinyl siding.
- LIGHTEN UP Provide more drainage by adding a gravel layer in the bottom of the box.
Better yet, use biodegradable packing peanuts or small, empty plastic containers from the recycling bin. They don’t add very much weight.
- GET DIRTY Window boxes need fresh, well-amended soil each season to support the healthiest plants. Take the time to clean them out and refill before each planting.
- MIX IT The lushest window boxes feature plants at varying heights. Mix tall varieties, like spiky grasses or long-stalked flowers or even edibles, like cherry tomatoes, with bushy, leafy, low plants.
And don’t forget to add trailing vines to spill over the front and sides. Vinca and sweet potato vines are hardy, easy-to-grow favorites.
Begonias fill more of Linda’s signature unique containers: Here, she presses a seed spreader and child’s wheelbarrow into service.
A blue potting shed began life as an outhouse—clearly indicated by the half-moon insignia on the door.
Linda surrounded the shed with potted shade-loving annuals, birdhouses and a birdbath. A weathervane tops the structure.
Vintage china and earthenware plates (some decorated with flowers and flamingo) form the edging around the potting shed border.
PLANTS FOR DRY SHADE
Want a garden that looks great under a forest canopy? These plants thrive in a yard with lots of tree cover, like Linda’s.
- Bishop’s Hat
- Bottlebrush buckeye
- English daisy
- Flowering tobacco
- Hop tree
- Japanese pachysandra
- Lamb’s ear
- Large-flowered bellwort
- Pig Squeak
- Spotted dead nettle
- St. John’s wort
- Yellow archangel
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