Monday, June 11, 2012

Planted Junk

 So this morning I was thinking about taking the day off since I just had my Open Studio on Saturday and then drove out to the Sacramento Antique show on Sunday and sold my goods in the heat all day.  I made a little money so I thought just relax today Monday.  It's not in my blood, to relax that is.  I got a call from a friend (thanks Natalie) and we talked about some of the pieces that have been sitting at the shop and not moving.  She had mentioned to me that I should show what could be done with them.  I figured why not I had already picked up the house, and yes I do housework.  I went to my shop and gathered a pile here it is. 

 I had heard about this nursery in Livermore called Alden Lane Nursery and wanted to check it out so it seemed like the perfect opportunity on my day off.  So here is my cart loaded with my items of course I had a few other planters that had some real cool dead plants in them but I figured why not recycle the remains and bring them along for the ride.  Awesome cart right?  I could use one of these on my shopping adventures, I know late at night slip in and borrow it, right?  They have security gates everywhere no chance. 
 This is Cyndee, not Cindy.   She was gracious enough to give me the red carpet of the place and even some back secret areas or at least I think they were secret.  Ok maybe she gives everyone the tour.  Still very knowledgeable and sure can talk, a good thing in the gardening world.  You can never have enough info and she was loaded with it.  Thank you Cyndee you made me feel like I was the only customer that day.  I will return.  Impeccable service.
 Ok so the place has plenty of shade due to these very old trees.  As I understand it they are Oak trees.  Some have fallen but still remain a great source of shade for the shade plants they sell.  Wish I had a blanket maybe to catch in a nap, really they were so magical like being in some far off Italian Oak Farm if there is such a place.  Do Oaks grow in Italy?  Hmmm next time I will ask Cyndee, not Cindy. 
 They have scattered throughout these teaser planted junk pieces.  Now you can see why I went there in the first place.  You just go to pick up a few plants and get inspired by these pieces that were created to show you what can be done by using second hand items.  I am really liking this place now.   
 In this photo I am looking out at the many plants to chose from and trust me on this one they have so many.  You really can get lost in it all.  I heard one customer say that she had been there for 2 hours and wasn't done looking.  I told her I understood her concern and was about to fall into the same deep sleep of plants and flowers and trees.  I wanted to ask Cyndee this question but didn't have the guts.  Do you think they would let me bring my family in for a picnic and invite a few friends and just hang out.  I promise I will clean up my mess.
 Now I have seen everything.  Guess what this is?  I know it's not a very good photo (I tried).  This is a birds nest and yes those are little baby birds nested right in the middle of the 5 gallon rows of berry plants.  5 little guys just minding there own business taking in a nap, see they have the right idea.  This nest is literally smack dab in the middle of the nursery table with about 100 five gallon berry plants.  Not sure what the mother was thinking I hope they survive something tells me they will they now have many other mothers at Alden Lane Nursery. 
 Look at these boxes they look like normal boxes they were in the back section of the nursery.  Quite harmless right?
 Get a closer look bees, yikes!  Hope they aren't killer bees.  No I am sure they are not I got a closer look to get this shot and they didn't even know I was there.  It's like I was invisible.  Still I only looked for a brief moment you know to let them do their thing, making honey.  Yes they sell the honey as well.  Local honey I hear is good for allergies so they say.  These bees are an important part of the Eco system so next time you see one just leave it alone and it will do the same to you.
 I know you think I am getting carried away with these shots but they also have chickens in the back area.  They have kids come in and learn about growing vegetables and the chickens are there to give the full effect.  Kids and animals they seem to relate and I am sure there is a story they tell to the kids about the chickens.  Not for eating these guys I am told, too bad they look healthy, kidding.
 This is the resident dog.  Forgot his/her name.  He was hanging out in the gift store just kickn it.  He's very smart he knows where it stays cool.  Maybe I will join him.  I wanted to lay next to him but too many customers to even try next time I will wait until right before closing and see how cool it really is.
 So I told you about the Oak Trees earlier.  They also have Walnut trees as well.  Apparently on the property they have quite a few.  I guess someone figured they should harvest them for some extra dough.  Here is the Walnut cleaner, sorter machine thingamajig.  I should have stayed in school I am sure it has a name.  Maybe one of my 21 followers knows.  Speaking of followers I have added 2 more since my last post.
 These are the original owner's of the place back in 1955, Ruth and Jack Williams, god I hope I am getting this all right.  I am a horrible at research.  I believe their daughter took over the place in 1985 her name is Jacqueline Williams Courtright.  I don't want to give out too much info on the history as I am sure to make some type of mistake.
 Now to the good stuff here are some of the garden elements they sell.  This is just a sampling, this is just the bird table, they have a bunny table, snail table, and so on.  If you are looking for it I am sure they will have it.
 Did anyone say pots.  I mean look at this, way too many to count.  All shapes and sizes.  Amazing.
 Ok and plants for every type of garden you can imagine.  I would have shown you more but I think you get the picture. 
 This display caught my eye.  It's a two sided window box with a faux window window in the middle.  I hope they used recycled wood, I am sure they did.  Cyndee told me they recycle most of what they get and throw little away.  Trust me I have seen the back and they also have a wood shop or creation center.  That gives me an idea on the window.  I feel a project coming on. 
 Yes the photos you have all been waiting to see.  Here is one of the pieces I brought with me to the nursery.  It's an old wooden drawer.  I filled it with shade plants and now look at it.  It is oozing with life, if you look real hard you can still see the pull handle.  This drawer is now re purposed into a planter.  Don't you think it is much better than a boring drawer and now replaces the clay pot. 
 This arrangement is was also created by me an old tool box still functional as a tool box but now even better as a planter.  Just look at it, come on look again.  I am surprised that no one wanted this metal box.  Now I want to keep it.  I wish I could but I have to sell it so it can be yours.  I am taking this one with me over the weekend to one of my shows.  Let's see if it survives the day in my spot.  Maybe someone will like it as much as I.
 Another great piece.  I thought since this one has cubbies just leave it alone with a plant or two and fill it with garden gloves and garden tools.  Once I got started on this one I couldn't stop, I had to fill it now look at it also another piece that can be yours. 
 This galvanized bucket was also a loner in my store by it self most of day waiting for someone to buy it.  Now it has some friends to help grow.  Isn't it amazing what a few plants can do to bring out a recycled piece.
This is the last one of the misfits as I like to call them.  Just a rusty tool box for storage, wrong.  it can also be used to hold plants and this one has shade lovers.  It just pops now.  Ok so this one will stay with me.  Please don't let me kill the plants.  Thanks for reading.


  1. Cisco - you kill me with your from the heart and let it go writing...that what you truly want to do is share others and be creative....part of a small yet growing breed of people...what you are doing is more than about making money..though i know you need to having a family...beautiful wife and two very creative children...(wonder where they get that?)...knew there were uses for you hundred tool will always be ahead of the inspire me during this time where I can't be doing what i truly want to be...glad i inspire you back...keep going are so on it...

  2. This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experience & memories from your first adventure into the Nursery! I wish you had the opportunity to visit & experience the property several years ago. Long before the parking lot was paved, and the grand new stucco structure was put in place, there were acres upon acres of Walnut trees (located where the newer neighborhoods are behind the wood shop and parking lot) that were harvested each Fall before being taken to Red Diamond for distribution. Jacquie, Cyndee, and the rest of the past, present, & future individuals make up the amazing, well equipped and educated staff that just add to the experience. Alden Lane Nursery is one very special & unique escape - overflowing with creativity, surrounded & loved by an array of communities, and is hands down a simply wonderful family-style run business. Thank you again for sharing and joining in on the enjoyment of the Enchanted Garden! Can't wait to view your next inspiration!

  3. Hi Cisco
    I found your blog on CV Patch. I didnt know we had a vintage repurposer here in town. I hope you'll hop on over to my blog to see what I'm doing. We definitely have some cross-over topics. I'm a long time Alden Lane customer; the master nursery folks there are very familiar with out little micro-climate and have never steered me wrong with plant choices. I'll be over soon to check out your shop.

    Linda @ Fingers in the Dirt

  4. Great stories, I love your day at the nursery! It was so nice to meet and talk with you today, see you soon at Alameda!

  5. Love your creations! I too had found an old green toolbox at a garage sale - in pretty good shape. Was thinking of using it for some type of storage - instead it is filled with succulents and setting on my front porch!

    1. I would love to see your creation. Here is my email or if you want to post it on Facebook my site is restoreandrework thanks for reading. Cisco

  6. I will be glad to send you a photo - altho the plants are not doing all that great right now - need to make a trip to Alden Lane and get some ideas of what to add to it! We also entered a potted plant into the Alameda County Fair - a burro's tail (sedum) planted in a banged up old yellow metal watering can! It is so fun to repurpose - isnt it! Harvested some of our first potatoes that we planted into a rusty old metal wash tub!