I love to bargain hunt. There’s a thrill of getting something really cool, or valuable, at a fabulous price. If not gardening then slumming around at estate sales on the weekend is my next favorite pastime. Right now I’m banned from bringing home any more small tables (quarter sawn oak!) or Stiffel lamps (no, they are not old lady lamps, they are classic and made in the USA!). So now I keep my eyes on the lookout for garden items. I don’t go after just anything though. There are some perameters; namely quality, price, and whether the item is appropriate for the PNW climate.
I have found very nice ceramic containers, the blue and white Chinese style, that once cleaned up were perfect for indoor plants. Sometimes I find plants too, not to mention garden books.
I’m still kicking myself for not picking up a high-end patio set that was a metal faux bamboo Chinese Chippendale set for 4 with a glass table top. I knew it wouldn’t fit in my car and I was a bit nervous about the glass table top. But it was beautiful and I’ve never seen one like it since.
I scope out Craigslist (under garage sales/estate) and EstateSales.net in advance. There is also Aces Estate Sales, Boyd’s Auctions, Bridges Estate Sales, and Peerless Estate Sales. A quick search online will bring up more companies. Most will have photographs of what is for sale so you can decide what to make a bee-line for. I usually have better luck with estate sales and moving sales rather than the average garage sale.
Here are a few things I’ve picked up in the last year.
The metal cat-tails and cranes were from an estate sale of a woman who had a lot of Asian style decor inside and outside her home.
This ceramic pot with the Mahonia ‘Soft Caress’ was from the same sale as above. No one seemed interested in it. I knew what the plant was and could not believe my luck as the asking price was $20. The pot alone would have been at least $50, and the Mahonia about $30 given its size (3 gallon?). I need to get that Mahonia out though. It’s getting too big.
I don’t know what kind of conifer this is. I’m assuming some kind of pine? If anyone knows please tell me. It has begun to develop small cones and has a very pretty blue tone to the needles. This was from a sale where the folks were downsizing and had a lot of conifers in containers. Asking price was $10.
This pair of hanging teardrop wood planters are a recent acquisition. They were a little weather-beaten as some of the previous stain had worn off but otherwise they were intact. At $4 each I nabbed them. Krylon Paints has a new product called Krylon Wood Stain which is a spray on stain for small wood craft projects. I couldn’t find it in the retail shops so I ordered it from Amazon and sprayed these in the Redwood color option. Now I just need to figure out what to plant in that odd shape. Any suggestions? I think I’ll line it with coconut fiber matting.
As with most estate sales the homeowner has moved into assisted living or has passed on. A family member is often there on site at the sale. It can be a stressful time for them, watching the belongings of a loved one being snatched up by strangers. I like to ask them about the occupant of the home and if they gardened. Frequently, the answer is yes and so I assure them that the item is going to an appreciative home.