It was the vision of Maryhelen Zopfi of Lutz, and the workshop project of her handy husband, Simon. Earlier this month, Maryhelen imagined her swimming pool-turned-koi pond with a cool old car front replacing the wooden bridge and fountain that had been in the spot.
“I looked on the internet and found six car fronts at the junkyard. I knew this was the one I wanted because it had the Buick hood ornament,” she says.
Janice “Pumpkin” Vogt of Seminole Heights found this old door in an alley in her neighborhood. She asked her friend and neighbor, artist Bean Spence, to paint it for her. She paid him in oatmeal cookies.
Yard art requires no water or fertilizer. Occasionally, pests find it, but when they chew it up, we just toss it! There’s no pain in that; only comfort in knowing we’ve gotten the most use possible out of something that would’ve ended up in a landfill.
This is another from Janice, a birdhouse crafted by her husband. He made the roof from an old AC duct from their home.
After spending time with a 20-something friend and newlywed just starting her own garden, I asked some Tampa Bay gardeners to share their favorite masterpieces to inspire her — and give me a column for the Tamapa Bay Times.
Of course, print is limited, so I couldn’t run all the wonderful photos, stories and tips gardeners shared. So here are a few more. I hope they’ll inspire you as they do me!
From Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, yard art created from actual plants! (Who’d a thunk?) Busch Gardens director of horticulture Joe Parr shared a parterre (I had to look that up — it’s a low-growing, highly manicured planting design.)
This is just one that he and his staff created.
“For our garden art at Busch Gardens, whether topiaries or parterres, we look for very compact and smaller plant varieties, especially annuals, that can be continuously sheared tightly and manicured on a regular basis,” Joe says.
“We pick annuals that exhibit excellent foliage and/or foliage color. Also it is very important that these plants contrast strongly to bring out patterns and details in the garden art that we are trying to create.”
Susan Gillespie of Riverview went another route with her blue bottle tree.
“This started out as a project on branches of a lemon tree that didn’t make it. Then I saw a metal one made by a guy hawking his wares in Webster” flea market in Webster, Fla., Susan writes.
“Then the search was on, for a couple of years actually, for blue bottles. Some of my customers happily supplied me with their contributions to the cause, one party at a time. But the rest were from antique outings all over the place and part of the fun of putting it together.”
Bill Carr of Plant City notes that one person’s favorite art may not be another person’s (spouse!).
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” writes Bill. “Here, in what I call my Heron Garden, is a plastic flamingo, which my wife hates and I think adds some whimsy. My wife visualizes it as fitting right in with the gardens around where we grew up that used old whitewashed tires and sinks for containers.”
And finally, one more from Maryhelen Zopfi’s garden: She put this fun face on a truncated tree limb that would have otherwise just looked very, very sad.