Posts Tagged ‘garden art’


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.

How to bring Humor into Garden Beds

October 7, 2010


For centuries, Halloween and scarecrows have spurred the makings of laughable and scary figures on front lawns, porches, and in gardens. With these two traditions in mind, you can bring humor into your garden year round by making the “eager gardener” (seen in the photo above) in less than 30 minutes. Here’s how.


  • Four 2×4 pieces of scrap wood
  • Heavy-duty stapler or 2 thumbtacks
  • Old pants and boots
  • Newspaper or straw
  • Four bricks
  • Two nails
  • Hammer
  • Shovel



  1. For the leg frames, cut two 2×4 boards six inches longer than the old pants being used.
  2. For the base, cut two 2×4 boards approximately 18 inches long.
  3. Place the leg frame in the center of one base and nail together. Repeat for second leg frame.
  4. In the soil, dig out an area 2-3 inches deep x 20 inches diameter and level the area.
  5. Place your leg frames in the area about 7 inches apart.
  6. To secure the leg frames, place a brick on the front and back of each base.
  7. Cover base and bricks with dirt, and mulch with straw if desired.
  8. Slip the pants onto the leg frames and lightly stuff each leg, buttocks, and front of pants with crumbled newspaper or straw.
  9. Slip boots over the leg frames, inside the pant legs.
  10. Staple or thumbtack the back of each pant to the leg frames just below the edge of boot top so the pant legs don’t slip down.


  • To avoid moving your “eager gardener” around, choose a spot where planting won’t take place for several months.
  • Try to avoid an area where overhead sprinklers won’t hit your “eager gardener”.
  • Get the family involved and make a replica of each member.

 Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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