Posts Tagged ‘antiques’


Reform . . .

June 19, 2014

Yard sales and flea markets are in full swing. Make a day out of this fun-loving activity with friends or family. There’s always something useful or decorative for the house, office, or garden to be found. Use your imagination and reform an old object into something new. Here are a few ideas for the garden.










Out of the Box Garden Art

September 12, 2011 Registered & Protected

Giant farm equipment is the last thing you’d expect to encounter in garden beds. But that’s what you’ll see in Kimberly Fruits’ remarkable landscape. Beyond an iron gate and an impressive grove, a massive grain auger and a 1908 threshing machine on either side of a circle driveway surprisingly blend into the scenery. The largest of many farm equipment, agriculture and a strong sense of rewinding time festoons most of the five acres surrounding Kimberly’s, and her late husband, Drexel’s, 5,000 square-foot country home in Acampo, California.

After tearing down and rebuilding the existing 1,800 square-foot house from 1997 to 2000, Kimberly and Drexel began landscaping the grounds in 2001. Drexel replaced borer-infested trees, brought in tons of soil to overlay hardpan, and installed water systems.

For years, Kimberly, a retired bank manager, and Drexel, a pharmacist, sought out auctions, estate sales, thrift stores, and garage sales. They tore down old barns to rebuild rustic sheds, and searched the internet for objects Drexel loved for the history and Kimberly loved because, “My favorite color is rust, and I like old and ugly.”

When Drexel bought agriculture equipment, he’d have a vision for it, drew a picture for Kimberly, then together they’d design a bed for the piece. They built large hills to accommodate timeworn pieces. To border the mounds, they used railroad ties, rocks from their property or broken concrete from the old house’s foundation. Then Kimberly dazzled the beds with flowering perennials and annuals.

Kimberly admits to choosing some of the large pieces like the manure spreader (above) tucked beneath a Japanese Elm tree. Drexel reinforced the rotted-out bottom with metal. He set barrels on the metal, filled them with soil, then added a drip line. Today, Kimberly’s plantings of sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritime), agapanthus (Lily-of-the-Nile), and Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos flavidus), spills over the sides concealing the barrels. Between the spreader and repurposed concrete path that Kimberly acid washed, are colorful impatiens.

Nearby, purple and yellow lantanas fill a rusty horse feeder. A claw foot tub and an antique hand pump are paired as a water feature. A baby buggy frame holds a galvanized tub with society garlic. Throughout the grounds, wagon wheels, rusty carts, farm tools, cast iron stoves, bicycles and much more are intergraded as accents or focal points.

Everywhere one turns, strolls, or stops to take in the vast number of garden art and picturesque plantings, you realize several visits are needed to see everything. Impossible to miss are the grain auger and threshing machine. Against a vista of redwoods, cedar and pine trees, both pieces appear complete. Although Drexel plumbed the auger and threshing machine for water features, neither were finished when a tragic fall from a scaffold took his life three years ago.

To honor their dreams, Kimberly, a petite grandmother full of energy, spunk, and personal garden memories, has opened the grounds and her amazing home for tours. This is one place you don’t want to miss. Rewinding rich reflections of remarkable garden art and thousands of collectables indoors, Kimberly’s stories are as intriguing and unique as her country estate. © Dianne Marie Andre

For tour and luncheon information contact Kimberly Fruits at 209-334-0138 | |

Kimberly Fruits’ Garden Art Tips:

  • Think outside the box. Almost anything can be a focal point or accent, alone or grouped together.
  • For dynamite weathered finds, go to thrift stores. The more worn and rusty the better. Once it decays, it won’t cost much to replace – a dollar or less.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. If it breaks or decays, modify the bed, patio, porch or wall with another object.
  • Don’t be afraid to use indoor elements outdoors. Again, it can always be replaced.

Crafting an Art for Garden Decor

March 8, 2010 Registered & Protected

Turlock, CA | Jeff and Michele Jaggers refer to themselves as “upcyclers,” and for good reason. For many years, they attended Country Folk Art Craft Shows to admire the work of talented artists, and to bring home a few crafts. When the Jaggers bought a bench from a vendor who assembled purchases on the spot, an unplanned commerce to up cycle antiques and collectables into garden décor soon emerged.

“By the time we got home,” Michele said, “all the pieces were lying in the back of our pickup. Jeff said, ‘“You know, I think I can do better than that.”’

Michele had already been collecting salvage items to which she added a little whimsy with paint and flowers, and then sold them at the floor-covering business she and Jeff own. When Jeff took an interest in re-crafting antiques and collectables into charming, well-built garden décor, Michele began filling the garage and side yard with treasures.

Late at night, while most people are sleeping, Jeff’s creative gene awakens him with ideas to convert Michele’s finds into flowerpots, benches, window boxes, vintage carts, wagons, birdfeeders, and much more. “Sometimes Jeff’s ideas turn into something different than what he started out doing,” Michele says. “It’s like planning a garden. You lay out the plants and you think, Yuk. Then you do something totally different.”

Jeff and Michele’s Goldendoodle, rightly named Mr. Doodles, checks on Jeff while he works in the garage.


No item is complete without Michele’s special touch. Oftentimes she shocks Jeff with “out-of-the-box” colors, such as pink with black polka-dots. However, Michele knows what people want. Her arty style makes them an easy sell as they are first to go. Regardless of how Jeff and Michele’s creativity flows (by trail and error, day or night), each finished product is one-of-a-kind.

Most homeowners, whether he or she is a gardener, has at least one outdoor spot where nothing grows due to poor lighting, heavy pet traffic, or water problems. Structures, such as Jeff and Michele’s vintage garden décor, bring life to dead spaces. More importantly, they are functional. Seasonal annuals and vegetables easily thrive in the Jaggers’ potting benches, wheelbarrows made from old fruit boxes, or galvanized tubs. “A lot of people like the fact that these have wheels and can be moved all around the garden,” Michele says.

Using an antique bike wheel makes this wheelbarrow moveable for carting items. Michele painted it red to add color to dull spaces or to showcase flowers planted in the tub. 


It’s no surprise that these “upcyclers” soon attracted a large following for their colorful, yet useful antiques and collectable garden décor. When it was time to expand, Jeff and Michele decided to take their work where inspiration first began, at the Country Folk Art Craft Shows. Although, the Jaggers book engagements at other shows, selling where they were first attracted to incredible crafters and antiques is like going home.

For show dates and ideas for displaying the Jaggers’ antique garden décor in your yard, contact Michele by email at or by phone at 209-668-8861.


Above:  Michele and Jeff with one of their potting benches inspired by an antique bathroom window on top and an antique freezer basket on the bottom shelve.  Below left:  Old enamelware is converted into a planter.  Right:  Jeff and Michele turned an antique radio flyer wagon into an attractive planter.








Copyright 2010 © Dianne Marie Andre

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