Lorene Edwards Forkner sees beauty and usefulness in things that often get tossed in the trash and she weaves these found objects into her fabulous Seattle garden. On a recent visit, I spotted tons of clever ideas for re-using broken and vintage material. I especially loved her use of rusted metal, including shovel blades and the head of a pitchfork. If you take a close look at the rusty metal frame hanging on the side yard fence you'll notice that it is actually an old spring core cushion ornamented with tin flowers. In a bed around the fire pit, shovel blades poke through perennials, including dark purple and sunset colored heuchera and euphorbia. Rather than buying a stake to hold back a billowing perennial, Lorene stuck the head of a pitchfork (whose handle broke off long ago) at the base of the plant. The tines of the pitchfork help the plant stay upright and add an interesting element to the bed.
My very favorite recycled element I saw in the garden were plant cages made from vintage woven wire fencing. I can't tell you how any times I've passed up rolls of this fencing at estate sales, but the next time I see a pile, I'm going to snatch it up. Lorene bends the fencing into a column and uses it to support tomatoes and perennials. I think it would also make an especially cute cage for tomatillos or peonies.
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Lorene's garden served as a laboratory for the DIY ideas in her upcoming book, Handmade Garden Projects: Step-by-Step Instructions for Creative Garden Features, Containers, Lighting & More, which will be published this fall. Willi Galloway writes The Gardener column. She lives in Portland, Oregon and writes about her kitchen garden on her blog DigginFood. Her first book Grow. Cook. Eat. A Food-Lovers Guide To Vegetable Gardening will be published in January 2012.
(Images: All images by Willi Galloway)