Root Of The Matter

For years it sat in a backyard flower bed.

IMG_20150724_155944136_HDR
The dead remains of an ill-fated evergreen in the brown planter. Everything struggled and died.

Nothing thrived. The toughest annuals barely survived in the glazed clay pot.  Shade might be the problem, so I tried to heave the hefty thing to a sunny location.

It wouldn’t budge.  Stuck a shovel inside to empty out and lessen the load.  Struck something hard.  

Attempted to tip the thing over.  It moved a bit, not much.  It was firmly anchored down.

On my knees in the grass, I discovered the culprit.  A stray rootlet from the apple tree, creeping in through the drainage hole had grown upwards. The lower three quarters of the container was blocked by a solid serpentine coil of unyielding root.

IMG_9486
A root from the apple tree (left) growing upwards into the pot, created a gaping hole in the process.

Who could have guessed?

I hacked the ropey mass away – not an easy task – chopped and eased it out. Most of the soil was gone.

No wonder  …

It blazed with joy in its bright new location and burned with bloom all the way through July until October’s first frost. Brand new beginning.  Plenty of sunlight.  NO sinister strangling roots.

Food for thought …

IMG_9649

IMG_9487
Sunny new location.  An old CD rack repurposed as a trellis support for a vine.
IMG_8058
No hidden roots to contend with. These gorgeous pink trumpet-shaped blossoms created a spectacular bright-spot at the foot of the deck steps.

Isn’t life like that?  Think of how relationships fail and situations deteriorate because of covert root issues lurking beneath the surface that never get acknowledged, dug out and disposed of.

Abandoned things are like hurting people. It’s worth investing time in them.  A little care, nurture and a dab of creativity might go a long way towards bringing about a transformation of loveliness.  

japanfaces
Abandoned things are like hurting people going through life wearing masks, when all the while there’s possible loveliness waiting to be excavated, if one only knew how

It would require a certain eye and angle of perception, of course, to realize the hidden value and immense potential in discarded things (and difficult people). 

The site of unwanted cast-offs gets my imagination all fired up —

cartofjunk
Thrift store finds.  Note the upside down chair at the top of the pile …
woodenchairwhitepaint
Here it is. A lick of leftover paint …
decoupagewoodenchair
… glue and a pack of rose-print paper napkins.  Several coats of lacquer and behold! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What wonderful things get tossed out and lie listlessly on the kerb, yearning for a second chance.

Clueless, careless people pressed for time, seek the trash can as a quick, convenient way out.  

First world solutions …

The owner of a local antique store told me she pays someone to scour the streets of certain neighbourhoods on garbage day.

“You won’t believe the valuable things we’ve found and sold at a price,” she said.

I believe her.

I’ve made some magnificent finds myself.  

Like these –

20181009_091200~2
Something similar to this darling drop-leaf tea cart from the 1920’s-40’s (straight from a Downton Abbey-type setting) had a price tag of $350 plus taxes at a local thrift shop.  It would go for double the price at an antique store.  In excellent condition, I rescued this one from the kerb just minutes before the garbage truck roared by.  All it needed was a good scrub to get rid of dust and cobwebs.
20190328_12395412
This adorable tilting mirror (I can just picture it in a scene from Jane Eyre) was lying face down in the grass as I jogged by just after dawn one morning.  I paid a few dollars to have the murky mirror replaced, had it sanded and stained, and what a conversation piece!  The price tag on a similar one at an antique store was astounding!
20180816_181559~2
This little bit of old-world loveliness sat forlornly outside a front gate after the owner failed to sell it at a garage sale.  He was delighted to give it to me for nothing.  It’s a whimsical reminder of a summer visit to my sister in the US. (Yes, it was driven back over the border to Canada!)  A bit of popsicle stick to repair the chip at the edge and …
20180816_183259~2
… more paint, glue and rose-print napkins and …

               

           

20180816_221826~2

20170518_160838
I just managed to grunt my way through the process of lifting this heavy carved triple mirror into my trusty hatchback.
IMG_9483
Reflections from a bygone era …
IMG_7758
… here’s where it ends up, with a pair of Daughter’s boots, an ancient two-legged chair (right) which serves as a pot-stand for a brilliant coleus. (The bridge is an online purchase, a fabulous Mother’s Day gift from the kids and their dad).  Not entirely visible (left) a birdhouse perched on a tall floor-lamp base.  #Repurposedlife !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend, Gail’s eye fell on this ugly blanket box as we drove by.  She suggested I pick it up –

20181105_094601~2
Looking quite hideous. Peeling wood with splinters, a cracked lid and stains from water damage …
20181109_171322~2
Sand it down, a coat of white paint ..

 

20181112_200256~2
… shredded tissue paper and some glitter glue …
20181114_213543~2
… and behold!  A bench to sit and dream (and a chest to store twenty years’ worth of a hand-written journals).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love browsing in thrift stores –

20180425_162004
Treasures. My favourite thrift shop.  Cash only, no tax and all the proceeds go towards mental health awareness.
SalvationARmystore
A great place to hunt out vintage books. The Salvation Army Thrift Store is not-for-profit, so no taxes on top of the price tag. Children’s books are just a dollar.  I picked up a 1915 hardcover edition of Little Women (Luisa M. Alcott) with dust jacket in mint condition, for a buck. (E-bay tells me it’s worth way, way more.)
VVstore
Prices at value village have sky-rocketed lately and there is tax on top.  Books average $7.00 for hardcover, exactly double what others charge.  Someone is making a hefty profit out of donated junk.

20180528_122316

You never know when smiling serendipity will direct you to the find of a lifetime.

Perhaps a gold-embossed book published in 1915 that you hold breathlessly in your hands to gaze at the faded name scrawled in elegant fountain-pen handwriting across the fragile fly leaf.

20190114_161005~2
Classics from a hundred years ago 

You might even find a bonus in the shape of a Christmas or birthday card tucked inside, with formal, handwritten greetings from almost a century ago.

Sentimental birthday greetings and Christmas wishes from the early 1900’s …

Or a rare first edition of a book by Dickens that you didn’t even know existed.

20190222_185003~2
The Life Of Our Lord, written by Charles Dickens for his children.
20190222_184952_HDR~3
Contrary to his wishes, it was published posthumously in 1934

The creative possibilities are endless.

Check out the evolution of this found item from vintage breadbox to desktop knickknack holder –

Or the resurrection of a sorrowing three-legged chair –

Or an ancient soccer ball reborn as glowing garden gazing ball preening on a cast-off plastic lampshade –

There’s no better place than a garage sale to locate sad things dreaming of a fresh purpose and renewed destiny.

Last summer I drove by a lawn sale and screeched to a halt when out of the corner of my eye, I saw this worn wooden ladder from the 40s/ 50’s.

The perfect stage for seasonal decorations –

IMG_8151
Old ladder.  Perfect garden display stand for vintage kitchen implements, including meat grinder, sandwich toaster and Mum’s old tea kettle and teapot.
20181031_131628
Porch platform for autumnal Thanksgiving decorations.
20181206_174546~2
Winter world .  Ladder aglow with Christmas lights and silver stuff.
20190312_085715_HDR~2
Ladder hosting assorted antiques ‘n’ things for in-between times (including an ekel broom from Sri Lanka).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I came across an identical ladder in an antique-store window.  The price tag was exactly ten times what I forked out for my weathered treasure!

A garden is the perfect platform to showcase dreams of discarded things.

–  Blooming barbecue planters …

– Chair plant stands –

– Coloured bottles –

– Old windows

– An unloved bicycle, a sad old door –

IMG_20150824_113244004
This decorated door took three of us to haul it out when I was done with it.
20180711_085334~2
Old bike festooned with flower baskets.  Squirrel finds a moment’s rest on the handlebars.

– Abandoned light fittings –

The pipes from an old tap for stems, glass lampshades from an ugly old chandelier and solar lights make for stunning garden decor that lights up the night …

The chandelier itself becomes a bird feeder with coconut shells for bowls …

IMG_7782
Chandelier birdfeeder with cocunut shell bird seed bowls.
IMG_9650
Blooming three-tier shoe-rack planter stand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC06183 copy
Solar bulbs clipped to the skeleton of an outmoded chandelier create a dreamy glow under the cherry tree at night.
chandelier
A single solar light inside a wee crystal chandelier lights up the corner under the apple tree  

A garden bedroom –

IMG_8026
A garden bed (literally).  A mesh for a perennial jasmine to crawl all over and create a blooming summer bedspread.  Old cupboard door for bedroom window.
IMG_8036
Optical illusion … a frame placed in a flower bed creates the appearance of a reflecting mirror.

You can never have too many mirrors in a garden …

Reflected dreams …

When the sun sets and the stars come out –

How they glow …

From hideous, useless to one-of-a-kind wonderful, these once-unwanted things shine in a quiet space of gentle dreams, enhancing this place of rest and relaxation.

IMG_7935
… and haven of rest …
20180805_080717~2
A place of discovery …
IMG_7390
… to meet and eat
IMG_7910
… and sweetly dream.
20190325_090340_HDR~2
These newest acquisitions have been out all winter, weathering nicely to acquire the perfect patina of age, all ready for spring planting.
20190327_114232_hdr2
The plumber didn’t think I was nuts when I wouldn’t let him throw out this old laundry tub.  (He knows me well.) It’s going to be re-purposed as a pond this summer, with fountain water flowing out of the taps.
IMG_0865
The old downstairs powder room wash basin got re-purposed as a shallow pond some years ago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to draw the line at old toilets, however.  

20170516_151058
Spring and fall renovations see dozens of these on neighbourhood sidewalks.  As we drive by I’m told, “Don’t you dare, Mom!” (I have my standards, of course – I wouldn’t dream of it!)
garden toilet
Upcycled toilet adorning a garden.  Doesn’t feel too sanitary … (courtesy Pinterest)
20190331_083416_HDR_2
Spent hours last week, picking up a winter’s worth of lap-dog droppings.  All ready for spring and then … woke up on Sunday morning to a marshmallow world.  #thisismycanada!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longing for spring, in spite of this past weekend’s dump of snow.

Dreaming of those long summer days.  Of pounding the pavements in running shoes at dawn and sitting out on the deck, reading till the stars come out at night …

Always mindful that there is a fresh purpose for everything.  The ugly-useless and despairing-broken — people and things.  

Keeping a sharp eye out …

Until next time,

sincerely

nvr2old2dream_nametag

20181108_112602~4
Re-purposed picture frames make a fine a bathroom collage

 

 

 

16 thoughts on “Root Of The Matter

  1. That is a rare eye having a rarer angle of perception to which core beauty of the animate as well as the inanimate is directly perceptible. You are the High Priestess of the desolate and the discarded.

    Like

  2. My dear, dear Sonali, you’ve done it to me again. I wait impatiently for your next installment of your Garden of Dreams, full knowing I’ll be back out in my wasteland of a backyard to try to prettify it as you have yours. You had me out looking for broken mirrors and rockingchairs. Then along comes this post. Your most ambitious to date, in my opinion. Your examples make my head swim with possibilities.

    I still want to interview you on my new website (check it out if you haven’t, at http://bondingfyre.com/.) Love to have you subscribe to it so we can have that link. If you post weren’t so long, I’d re-blog it on bondingfyre. I have bookmarked your post, though, so I can reference it when we finally do connect.

    You are amazing! Keep creating, Sonali.

    Jay

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s always a pleasure to know you’ve visited, Jay. Thank you for popping in. I’ve found myself wondering if you’d taken steps towards garden beautification!
      I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to connecting when the time is right. Have a great week, Jay. Smiles 🙂 🙂

      Like

    1. The ground’s still frozen. No planting for a month more, at least, but I can’t wait. As far as I’m concerned, my garden is the most magical place on earth … but that’s just me, of course! 🙂 🙂
      Have a great week, Andrea. Thanks for popping in.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome!!! Thank you!

    On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 11:05 PM Never 2 Old 2 Dream wrote:

    > Selina Stambi posted: “For years it sat in a backyard flower bed. > Nothing thrived. The toughest annuals barely survived in the glazed clay > pot. Shade might be the problem, so I tried to heave the hefty thing to a > sunny location. It wouldn’t budge. Stuck a shovel inside to” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoyed seeing your ambition displayed for all to see! Soon you’ll be frolicking in your garden among your refurbished treasures. An inspiring post, Sonali!

    Marietta

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE this post. It warms my heart. Breathing life into old decrepit things – it makes me want to stand in line for a thorough makeover!!!
    May the sun shine through for you even on the most wintery day!
    Keep creating!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christine, you’ve been on my mind. I’ve amassed a huge treasure trove of the most amazing books … wish I could share them with you. Will email soon, with pics. Thank you for popping in. I won’t stop creating, I promise! Just made a garden mobile out of broken ceramic mugs … 🙂 xx

      Like

Leave a Reply to Selina Stambi Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.