more rusty stuff

Some recent distractions in the garden.


After they no longer had any use for it, my parakeets’ bird cage was moved into the driveway, staged near the trash bins for removal. A neighbor sorta admired it there and mused about taking it home then lost interest. I’ve always loved its shape, how it flares at the top — indeed, I brought it home before I had any parakeets, who basically strayed into our lives and, voila, I happened to have a bird cage for them. (Semper paratus!) It was really just a token birdcage, because in the bath house they flew freely in and out of its bars.

feeling a little caged maybe?

On one of these recent restless, housebound mornings, in a fit of sentiment I reclaimed it from the trash area and hung it under the pergola. At least it’s see-through, I reasoned, and won’t block the view of the garden…(as if reason had anything to do with it). A couple days later I decided that this clutch of agave pups that are often neglected on the potting bench would have a better chance of survival if placed more prominently. But to be honest, that’s giving a veneer of practicality to this little tableaux that it doesn’t deserve. It’s just a case of the lockdown fidgets. I carefully slipped the agaves inside the cage like ships in a bottle, and I think Marty added the eggs made of stone. I’d rather fill the cage with tillandsias but don’t have a shady spot to hang it at the moment.


And the tillandsias have lots of other options now. Last year a rusty mattress found curbside was cut up and a few panels of six springs slid under the pergola beams so I could admire the spirals. One recent aimless day it struck me as an ideal tillandsia perch, so I collected some tillys from around the garden and inserted them into the spirals.

there were a surprising number of tillys around the garden to recruit for the spiral project

Some days the effect strikes me as sublime, other days a little on the junky side. It’s a constant push/pull, this hating the clutter but loving to play with it. Last year quite a few of the individual rusty spirals were stripped and painted black, possibly to fabricate individual lights, but electrical work is beyond my bandwidth at the moment. I’ll see if I can rope Marty into that project 😉

I just added three more tillandsias after a recent visit to Rain Forest Flora. The spirals might look less junkyard if they were stripped and painted black, and I happen to have a few of those around too…

I’ve been congregating tillandsias in vessels under the pergola for some time. It’s ideally suited for their lightweight requirements — bright light, good air circulation, easy access for frequent misting.


A few do blush deep pink when they bloom. Curtains of rhipsalis, epiphytic cactus, just seem to make natural accompaniments for tillandsias.


And it’s not like I haven’t mixed up rusted metal with tillandsias before. This one has cactus on top, tillandsias underneath.


As a practical note, I do have to say that keeping the tillandsias grouped together makes caring for them that much easier, and looking up into their silvery scrolls and arabesques is a delight. I’m much more inclined to mist them every morning now. A little practicality, a little madness…

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4 Responses to more rusty stuff

  1. Kris P says:

    It’s wonderful to see the confinement of the pandemic inspire creativity rather than anxiety or frustration. I love the mattress spring spirals as supports for your growing Tillandsia collection.

  2. hb says:

    Well done! A little housebound restlessness has produced some charm and style. I’ll be thinking of this post for inspiration and as a healthier remedy than ice cream.

    You gave me an idea for my rusty broken garage-spring pieces–Tilly supports!

    A trip to Birdrock must have been fun. I remember when I used to go to plant nurseries and garden centers…those were the days.

  3. Elaine says:

    Love it! Can’t go wrong with repurposing and plants.

  4. Frankly I’m quite surprised the bird cage ever made it to the trash pile, it seems quite fitting for the garden. As for the rusty springs you’ve reminded me that I have one somewhere. I need to dig it out and take it to the garden…

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