At the height of summer, there’s no better way to nourish your green thumb and soul than by reveling in the garden.

It’s no secret that I love both my front garden, and my back garden here at FrenchGardenHouse. They are extentions of our home, I use and decorate them as extra rooms!

 

 

Our gardens were recently featured in This Old House Magazine, in their June issue. What a thrill to see my back patio on the cover at the book store!

 

 

 

The photos were taken at 5:300 am, quite some time ago now.  Stylist Sunday Hendrickson, and photographer Mark Lohman were there at the crack of dawn to photograph the front garden before the sun came out.

 

 

 

And they returned after a long lunch break to shoot the back garden.  We had time to talk and laugh a lot, while waiting for the sun to disappear behind some clouds and Mark could begin his magic behind the lens.

 

Since then, a few things have changed in the garden, and there are a few things that need to be done, I noticed.  I replaced the parasol on the deck with a more cheerful black & white striped one. The turquoise table needs to be repainted. And I probably need to water the grass more!

Year after year, we enjoy our garden with our family and friends. It’s restful, and gives us lots of space to entertain, play games, or sometimes just read a book on a quiet afternoon. {which seem to be rare!}

 

 

Between the joy of being outdoors and the trill of watching beautiful flowers blossom and grow, gardening can be relaxing and fulfilling. A collection of everyday garden objects lets you bring the spirit of the gardens and gardeners of the past into the heart of your own garden.

 

 

Here are some of my very favorite garden antiques {and a few new pieces too} for all of you devoted to your garden. 

 

1. WATERING CANS.

Antique  watering cans, with plenty of patina and wear, not only add decorative charm, they actually work too!  The quirkier an old galvanized watering can is, the better!

 

 

This decorative 19th century French Watering Can, with a detachable copper rose and a wonderful time-worn patina surface is as useful as the day it was made, and perfect for display with your other hardworking vintage watering cans.

This watering can has the French graceful handle arching from the top of the can to the back, and plenty of patina.

 

 

These are sold as garden watering cans today, but this white enamelware water can was originally used in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s by a maid in a large house to carry hot water from the kitchen up to her mistress’s room to fill the washing basin or bath. The lid was was to keep the water’s temperate hot.

 

 

The back half of the can lifts up with a hinge allowing access for filling. Eventually, most grand homes had running hot water, and the hot water cans were repurposed for watering house plants, especially the now quite rare to find smaller sized ones like this one, below.

 

 

I think every garden is enhanced by a few well chosen garden antiques.  In our own garden, antique French pots, watering cans, and garden totes add French Country style. Our stylist, Sunday, had quite a lot of fun deciding what to use for the shots for the magazine!

 

2. GARDENING TOTES.

Some of the most requested antiques you ask for me to find in France are the old garden baskets and trugs, such as this wood basket from France. Originally made to harvest grapes, they were also used in the garden for flower gathering, or in a family potager to place vegetables in to carry to the kitchen.

 

 

This decorative antique seed carrier was hand made of wood. What I love best about this one is the darkened patina and rusted nails, the indentations made with old garden tools and everything else that shows this was a working tote. {This is what makes antiques whisper their stories, isn’t it? Their glorious imperfections. }

 

 

With their weathered patina, baskets have always been a favorite garden carrier or help, too. This splint farm basket was used for decades to gather lavender in the garden, it was painted grey.

 

 

Another tote, this all-metal beauty comes from a community garden. The gardener’s plot number has been hand painted on the front. Over the years, the gardener who owned this and used it in his community garden plot painted the carrier different colors, this last coat is a rustic red.

 

 

 

The totes are so desirable, and so difficult to find that this year I introduced these decorative French Country zinc tote organizers to take to the garden with your plants, stakes, string and small hand tools. Stenciled by hand with the name of one of our favorite towns in the Provence, Digne. Will age over time, these are imperfect and quirky, but so useful.

 

 

Here is one with Arles stenciled on the front. Same configuration, just a different town in blue.

 

 

 

3. PITCHERS & BUCKETS.

Tall, graceful, with an elegant narrow spout, antique enamelware pitchers always look amazing in the garden {or inside, of course!}. I love these on my potting bench in the garden, some of the ones we have hold water, some do not.  This blue one dates to the early 1900’s, it’s French cottage style at its best.

 

 

I love these zinc buckets, used long ago, to gather coal from the coal shed in the garden. Purchased in France, now that we no longer have coal sheds {!!} they look wonderful in the garden filled with an arrangement of your prized hydrangeas.

 

 

BRITTANY BLUE FAUX HYDRANGEAS

 

 

4. POTS & PLANTERS.

Antique French pots always bring a country feeling to the outdoors. I am particularly enamored with these all metal cache pots. I line these with moss, then pop in a little lavender from the nursery, right in its plastic post, and cover the top with more moss.

 

 

The cutest little antique French seedling pots, found in France and used for decades in a French Conservatory. They have patina, wear, and a drainage hole. Each is different, with imperfections such as a rough edge spot, or a small chip.

Wonderful to start your heirloom seeds, to hold your plant markers in your garden house, or your collection of vintage seed packets.  I use these at home for so many purposes, little votive candles inside of them make a really alluring centerpiece when I place several of these down the center of my big aqua table on the back patio.  {I add a little soil inside so the votive or tea candle sits up high.

 

 

5. ANTIQUE GARDEN PRINTS & BOOKS.

If you are like me, and you’d rather decorate than dig in the dirt, these garden antiques for the great indoors are just the thing!

Antique garden prints are a joy, often printed in rich, lush colors such as this French chromolithograph. This botanical print is really a collectable book plate which was taken from a disbound 1880 Botanical book, Revue d’Horitculuture.

 

 

Botanical prints are beautiful, I gather only the ones I adore, they have to be either a flower I love, a color that catches my eye, preferably hand colored, or chromolithographs of beautiful quality to make the cut for FrenchGardenHouse.

 

 

Antique gardening books are my favorite way to learn about the garden, since I am not really a gardener! I can get lost in their pages and gorgeous illustrations. They are getting really, really rare to find at any kind of affordable price these days, I really do a happy dance when I can source some for the shop!

Antique Garden Book with colored prints, are the best kind to find.

 

 

 

6. GARDEN DECORATIONS.

I’m always looking for something wonderful for the garden when I go to market, and this year I found these bee skeps.  Before the 1800’s, bees were kept in hand-made straw skeps like this. The Victorians were quite enamored with bee keeping, every estate had it’s own bee hives!

These reproduction skeps are loosely woven by hand of grass, as the old ones were, these are soft and can be slightly lopsided, all to make them look more authentic. I have one on my aqua bench my John made for me, and I love how it looks surrounded by flowers and some of my watering cans.

For decorative purposes only, this Bee Skep will lend French Country charm to your garden, or home.

 

 

7. GARDEN ACCESSORIES & GIFTS.

Not everything in the garden has to be antique, for yourself or gifting, these stylish finds for the garden are the cream of the crop!

You want to look chic when gardening, and these aprons fit the bill!  Dotted with country charming wheelbarrows, watering cans and more, they are beautiful enough to wrap up and present as a gift to someone you love who loves to dig in the dirt!

 

 

And Magical Photographer Mark Lohman!

 

HAPPY GARDENING!

 

 

Our garden antiques are often the very first to sell, so if you see a piece that speaks to you, grab it while it’s still there! Shop our garden antiques here.

Are you a gardener, or more of a garden decorator like me?

à bientôt

 

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com