About 3 years ago I published a blog post about having antiques in the garden. If you are a gardener, as I am, and if you love antiques, as I do, you invariably start adding them to your plantings. There are lots of ways to use antiques in the garden - some antiques were always meant to be there, and others just look good among the plants.
I started collecting photos of things that appeal to me in other people's gardens and I created a Pinterest board from them. You can see it by going to www.Pinterest.com and searching for Antiques in the Garden board.
Start with bird houses: - there were always bird houses in country gardens - birds enhance the garden, spread seeds, and kill bugs. You can find all kinds of birdhouses at flea markets and shows, some older than others, and many that are rustic and fun.
I love this 3 hole one I found in Maine a couple of years ago.
And this one with dormer windows!
Statues and antique structures really add interest to your garden. My gardens range from really informal country beds to formal ones. I found this French gazebo at a shop about 15 years ago. I put it at the end of the flower beds just as the field slopes away. I now have a little bench inside it, and clematis grows on it. I love sitting there.
I found 4 old arches at the Elephant's Trunk flea market in New Milford, CT about 15 years ago. They are from the 1890s, and somehow, I managed to get them home in one piece. I put them over a stone walkway that leads to some rustic steps going down into the field. I planted roses to grow on them, and I found an old statue and a column to sit at the far end. It is so pretty in the spring.
The pair at the end, just in front of the statue, have built in benches! The arches are even pretty in the winter. That's the thing about structures in the garden - they make it look good all year round, even if you live in snow country, as I do.
I'm not a big one for statues, but about 20 years ago I found a life size antique statue of one of the four seasons - I think she's "Spring" - at United Housewreckers in Stamford, CT, where you used to be able to find amazing stuff. She weighs a ton. I hired somebody to truck her up to our farm and I put her on the cement top of an old well that was hiding in the field. I love her there. I wrap flags around her on the 4th of July - not sure why I do that - and daffodils grow at her feet in the spring.
I love my herb garden. I wish herbs would grow here all year, because I use them for cooking all the time. Old iron things - scraps, parts of weathervanes, signs, anything - just look great in the herb garden.
And sometimes I put a little wagon in there with a birdhouse on it.
Bee skeps! They are the BEST in the garden. I love them and can't get enough of them. The ones I leave out are reproductions - they just won't hold up in severe weather. I have some old ones, but they stay inside. Even so, the shape of the skep really enhances the garden.
Here are a couple of my antique bee skeps, safely inside:
Cupolas, shells, bird baths, interesting objects are also candidates for the garden. Just put them where you want to and see how it looks. I move mine around all the time.
I like bird baths, and sometimes I just put them on the ground.
Sundials - every garden needs at least one:
And a real weathervane or two:
You can never have enough urns, either:
All of these urns are not antiques - the cast iron ones are, but the two white ones are actually made of fiberglass!
I have collected old garden tools as I have come across them. Particularly useful are the row markers - most of these are English and they come in really handy when you are trying to make straight rows. The two pieces are connected by string, and you just walk the distance you want and put one or the pieces at each end. I use them all the time.
Watering cans, gathering baskets, dibbers, hand rakes and clay pots are all decorative and useful garden antiques.