When “old is the new new” – by Diane Morey Sitton

Feathered and weathered – just right for the garden! All images by Diane Morey Sitton. Click image for larger view.

In the realm of flea market style, vintage bottles become vases, broken down wheelbarrows become planters, and primitive tool boxes, well, instead of storing hammers and screwdrivers, they become catchalls for trowels, clippers and plant tags.

Creeping Jenny would just as soon grow in an old watering can as a new clay pot. Click image for larger view.

There’s no question that one person’s trash is another person’s garden treasure.

There’s also no question that the quickest way to achieve “the look” is by repurposing old items. The possibilities are endless, and creativity is the name of the game.

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Old shutters let in light and air, perfect for gardens. Click image for larger view.

Buy an old tea cart, and you’ve got a plant stand. Score a wrought iron gate, and you’ve got garden art. Purchase old shutters and build a garden room screen. Find vintage fruit or wine crates, and you’ve got the makings of potting shed storage.

But reimagining the old items is only half the fun of creating flea market style: for many “thrifters”, the real fun lies with the thrill of the hunt.

Use a tattered cabinet for storage and for showing off collections.

Garage sales, estate sales, antique malls, thrift shops, salvage yards, side-of-the-road freebies and flea markets (large and small) are sources for primitive cupboards, vintage fencing, used bricks, birdbaths, gates, galvanized watering cans, antiquated farm implements, architectural salvage items, and discarded junk.

Small in size, big on charm. Click image for larger view.

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Remember, repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. When attached to potting shed walls, even metal rake heads –minus their broken handles– become “rake racks.” Use the sturdy tines as hooks for hanging up hand tools, garden hats, and other essentials.

Need a plant stand … use a kid’s chair.

To get the best picks, pros suggest going to flea markets, estate sales and garage sales on the first day. Usually, you’ll get the best deals on the last day. Whether you are shopping a large flea market (First Monday Trade Days in Canton comes to mind) or plan to visit several yard sales in a single day, dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. (If convenient, throw in a second pair, just in case). Keep your hands free by wearing a backpack, fanny pack, or fisherman’s vest with multiple pockets and pouches. Carry small bills, apply sunscreen, and wear a hat. Secure your sunglasses with a strap or cord. Lastly, don’t forget bottled water, snacks, and a packet of towelettes. When you’re junking, rust, dust and age-old crust are the name of the game.

As the hunt develops, keep an open mind. Who knows when you’ll discover an old item that inspires you in a new way!

Posted by Diane Morey Sitton
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