If you saw this guy, would you be afraid? Or would you do a quick turnabout and snap him up?
Mexican yard statuary is hugely popular here in Florida. The vibrant colors and artistic renderings of critters that usually make us squeal and run hold all the thrill of jumping out of an airplane — with none of the risk.
On June 1, I shared some of our readers’ favorite yard art in the Tampa Bay Times. I promised to post here what didn’t get published in the paper. (And the photo quality is SO much better here!) The guy above is Mexican statuary from Southwest & Tropical, 5635 State Road 54, in New Port Richey.
“We sell the monkeys, manatees and LOTS more,” says Dorothy (proprietor, I assume.)
Even though the one below ran in the paper, I’m replaying it here, both to riff on a theme and because, heck, it’s prettier on your monitor.
That alligator yard art is a tribute to the University of Florida’s Gators (note that I’m a supremely objective journalist! I’ve published this twice despite my loyalties to my alma mater, USF, and my kids’ school, FSU.) Darby Miller of South Tampa and North Carolina is the artist. This one’s not for sale, but you can find more of her goodies at www.etsy.com/shop/Floridaze.
Another Tampa artist who both saves and sells is Beth Nobles of Brandon, creative force behind Gypsy’s Garden Art. The piece below — her favorite, it’s on her business card! — started with a frog soap dish that she never saw before and hasn’t seen since. (She gave this piece to a good friend.)
Lynn Barber, Hillsborough County Extension’s super helpful Florida-friendly landscaping agent, is an avid gardener and repurposer. Here’s a better look at the coffeepot planter that ran in the paper.
It’s planted with Artemisia, wire vine, sedum, and assorted succulents.
Her other favorite is this palm frond-turned-planter.
“I drilled two holes in the smaller portion (of the frond) and used a chain to hang this creation.” Lynn writes. “I glued Tillandsias on the inside and outside and have a Vanda orchid in full bloom hanging from it. This gives me lots of smiles while sitting on my front porch swing.”
I love Lynn’s porch — and so does she. And her family. And friends. And neighbors. And strangers.
“My front porch is my absolute favorite place to be,” she writes. “My neighbors like it, too, especially at happy hours.”
Are you thinking it’s only us women who are into yard art? Totally not! I know plenty of guys who appreciate a flower made from scrapped car parts. And my kind plumber husband once brought me a black toilet he’d pulled out of someone’s house. “Thought you might like this for the garden,” he said. (Thought appreciated. Toilet, not so much.)
Here’s Dan Dunn’s butterfly sunflower feeder, made with a natural sponge from Tarpon Springs.
“I make bird feeders (using dinner plates), butterfly feeders(using sponges harvested off Tarpon Springs), bird baths (using ceramic flower pot drainage saucers) and hand-painted gourd birdhouses,” Dan writes. “I make all these products out of my home and sell them at large art & craft shows in Florida.”
And finally, one of the truly sweetest crafters/entrepreneurs I know — Mary Mirabal of Garden Whimsies by Mary.
“I was inspired to start a plate border several years ago after seeing one while visiting Anna Maria Island,” Mary writes. ” I thought it was so darn charming that I had to have one. My border is still growing with the plates I don’t use for my garden whimsies.”