How to Display Garden Collectibles | Living the Country Life
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How to Display Garden Collectibles

Take heart from Illinois artist Catherine Grunewald, an avid collector who arranges her garden in lovingly designed vignettes. Follow her tips to create “organized clutter” with your own vintage treasures.
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Mix Collections

    Interrupt collections just a bit with similar but unrelated items. Groupings of old buckets, for example, blend with baskets and other containers hung from the ceiling, stacked on shelves, or used to contain other decorative items. Nearby, birdhouses, flowerpots, floral frogs, balls of twine, pebbles, a collection of oil cans, and a vintage toy truck with a bird’s nest fill the shed.

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Repeat a Strong Element

    One old brass garden hose nozzle looks intriguing, but 85 nozzles placed vertically like trophies across four shelves make a real statement. 

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Protect Outdoor Surfaces

    Catherine’s potting shed overspills with rustic charm, some of which needs protection against the elements. Hot, cold, and wet weather extremes can damage garden goods. In spring or fall Catherine paints a coat of clear polyurethane on rusty pans that double as birdbaths and on wooden tables that stay outdoors all winter. Instead of sitting on damp earth, wooden table legs rest on flat flagstones or stepping-stones disguised with a light coating of mulch. 

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Use Screws for Hanging

    Almost every tree, wall, ceiling, or building can hold an arrangement of interesting collectibles, such as antique mirrors or signs. Screws secure them better than nails, Catherine says. An impressive collection of vintage water spigot handles are screwed onto a 4x4-foot piece of barn board secured to the potting shed.

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Follow Your Heart

    Catherine’s friends often want to copy exactly what she does in her garden, but she steers them toward discovering their own style. Here, an old harrow, gleaned from the Illinois farm where she grew up, holds 29 antique watering cans on the side of her barn. 

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Make Collecting Fun

    Don’t be too rigid in your garden design concepts. “No matter how formal your garden is, you can always add a little whimsy to it,” Catherine insists. Thirty-six pairs of worn-out garden gloves wave from the points of a stockade fence. “It’s always the right hand that’s worn out,” Catherine says. “I had so many of them I decided they had to be placed on that fence.”

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017
  • Photography by Jon Jensen

    Repurpose

    Catherine’s 80-year-old father, Bill Grunewald, welds old glass doorknobs to rebar or pipes. The 3- to 4-foot-tall doorknob stakes can be used as adornments and to buttress plants.

    Date Published: November 14, 2016
    Date Updated: January 3, 2017

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