Tips on Cottage Garden Treasure Hunting for Eclectic Junque

by Jean Smith

in Gardening

Collection of cottage garden junque like ornate white cabnet, shell framed mirror and country fabric

Cottage gardens speak in soft whispers….  As you stroll through my garden’s you’ll unearth many curious objects (garden junque) sprinkled here and there. One may be peaking out of a cluster of tulips while another is nestled into the depths of a climbing vine.  I enjoy re-purposing other people’s cast offs, melding functionality with creativity leaving the guest with an unforgettable feeling.

In my previous post I discussed objects that make great garden containers. Today let’s look at where you can find them along with some shopping tips.

Where to find great junque:

  • Flea markets are a great place to find eclectic items of all sorts.
  • Rummage sales are typically loaded with cast offs.
  • Antique shops are the best place to explore because they realize garden junque is something their shoppers want.
  • Thrift shops. The Salvation Army, The Good Will, and smaller independently owned shops are good places to start.
  • Garage sales are always hit and miss. Look for block or subdivision sales which will keep you in a concentrated location.
  • Estate sales will typically have some interesting older pieces.
  • Auctions, especially in the country offer loads of great junque. Read over the auction’s sale items list.
  • Craig’s List, EBay and similar sites. Search under garden supplies, antique tools, watering cans, etc. and specific item names (i.e. Tin buckets).
My minds eye is in tune with what I love in my gardens and therefore has become quite keen in spotting usable junque… and so can yours.


Tips on shopping wisely:

  • [pullquote]Think out of the box… if you find the perfect crate but its brown and you want white- paint it![/pullquote]Walk through your gardens or scan the space you are looking to add a particular element to.
  • Take photos of the garden/space to help you imagine a piece you may be considering.
  • Make a list of specific items you want… of course I often discover more that just have to come home with me.
  • Decide size of item desired, color schemes if applicable, number of items needed, etc.
  • Think out of the box. If you find the perfect crate but its brown and you want white- paint it! If you want a distressed look, sandpaper will do the trick.

If you stumble upon that perfect element and fall in love, buy it or you’ll always regret it.


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