Where to get that vintage garden look.
In a city like York, with its wealth of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses, many townhouse gardens and back yards lend themselves to a vintage garden look. (We don’t all have the garden space of large houses along the Knavesmire, Stockton Lane, or the outlying villages.) Vintage gardens are easy to create in terraced and 30s houses from the spoils of York’s many car boot sales… the Sunday market at Murton is great if you get up early and arrive before the hoards. If you’re lucky enough to find old advertising tins, these can be reused as planters. Just drill holes in the bottom with a metal drill bit – about 3 holes for a 5 inch tin will suffice for drainage purposes.
Even better, you can find cheap wooden crates at prices lower than a Vintage Antiques Fair! If you’ve been given wine or sherry in a wooden box, it can be re-purposed. Age it with some antique wood stain from Barnitts, or Pextons. A light rub with the dye and a finish with a clear varnish will age your box miraculously, to create a vintage tool box or planter.
The “original” garden ornaments and planters on sale in York’s gift shops are very over-priced – it’s not unusual to see grocers’ produce boxes on sale for £20 to £30. That’s probably fine if you live in Surrey, but we’re more canny up here in North Yorkshire. If we’re paying good money for vintage, we like to know it has some history and did not start life in a far-flung factory. Unfortunately, many of the “vintage ornaments” on sale in local garden centres and even some antique centres are about as old as last week.
It’s always more rewarding to source your own vintage garden items with some real age. We’ve picked up a steamer chair from York Community Furniture Store just off St James’ Street and old galvanised watering cans from Frances at Allsorts Antiques in George St, Pocklington. (Closed on a Sunday and a Wednesday. It’s worth calling her in advance to check 07780 586117.) So now that Spring is on the way (!) why not get creative with your own vintage garden accessories?
What’s your garden’s theme?
Complement your vintage garden with a traditional planting scheme by York Gardening. Whether you prefer a Victorian Cottage Garden, garden borders crammed with colours, a monochrome planting scheme, an Alpine rockery, or architectural plants for a modernist landscaping, York Gardening’s local horticulturists have the answer.