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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Still Don't Have A Potting Bench

Pulling out stored Christmas decorations is like taking a walk down memory lane. Ornaments and accessories that stir thoughts of the people who passed them along or the stories behind each one.

Time-stamped with recollections of holidays come and gone and thoughts held dear of the blessings and cheer of past seasons spent with loved ones. With each container opened inspiration begins to motivate me for just the right placement that will be the festive and homey touch I'm looking for in my decorating.

This year there were some surprises as I began my rummaging. I had completely forgotten about the end-of-the-season sale from last year when I bought the "12 days of Christmas" mugs and salad plates from Williams Sonoma. I do remember I purchased them for a great price. Really cheap is more like it. I bought them on sale and then went back 10 days later for a further markdown. I love it when that happens.

I had been eyeing them for weeks every time I walked through the store; but would never have paid the retail price. I love them as much now that they are all cozy in my house as I did when I first saw them. It was kind of like Christmas for ME when I re-discovered them all packed away.

It was never really my plan to display them I was only thinking about using them. But I like how it worked out that they are out in the open to be seen and to be used.

Hanging on the rustic metal Christmas tree that I've used in so many different ways over the years are vintage ornaments. After my friend and neighbor passed away a few years ago her husband wanted me to have them in memory of her. Turns out it is a beautiful way to bring her to the forefront of my heart in a warm, loving way each Christmas.

I bet you're wondering if I forgot what my title is with all this talk of Christmas decorating. I'm getting there. Promise.

I don't have a potting bench. It's the truth. People ask me all the time to please show/talk about my potting bench and potting shed on my blog. I seriously don't have one and never have had one. {Someday I will - cause I have dreams}.

So last week my mom and I were poking around in some antique stores in one of our favorite small towns close by. We were just lollygagging (that's Southern for no intentional aim) mostly with a purpose to relax and have fun together for an afternoon. But you know how it is when you "see" that just right object or accessory and it speaks to something in you. It is saying it wants to be one of the pieces in your life that makes up the whole.

That's how my entire home and garden has been created. One piece, one part, one section at a time. Built together, evolving layer upon layer into the big picture... a reflection of my own unique life experiences. It's more exciting that way don't you think! Maybe because you're never finished. No hurriedly buying stuff all at once for a magazine-cover designer styling. For me, it's more about mixing up styles, textures, and elements that blend with our individual lifestyle. Which makes it more 'my' home, 'my' garden.

And it means I always have my heart and eyes open for what fits for 'us' when I'm out and about just having fun.

I kept the centerpiece on our 'everyday' table very simple this year . Because we have to clear it easily for meals and for crafts and for play-doh and whatever else the moments require. I love mixing the unpolished silver mint julep cups with the bronze-ish tray and using natural evergreens and shiny ornaments randomly placed. All pulled together from pieces I already have and utilize on other occasions as well. It's important to me to make things work for who we are as a family.

It's worth noting here that our home is small and it doesn't have space for one more item of furniture. Seriously. I've been doing this (piecing together thing) for a long time and we are up to our eyeballs in furniture.

So Mom and I are innocently meandering around in our quaint small town and our favorite antique shops and I spot this piece of furniture. Yes, the one with all the Christmas decorations on it. I think to myself it would make the perfect POTTING BENCH. Or I'm pretty sure it was talking out loud TO ME. It would have to go in the garage because like I said I don't have a POTTING SHED either. It's 39" high. No bending. Perfect height for potting up WHATEVER. It has drawers for tools and a nice deep, sturdy shelf with doors that close. I planned to cover the potting surface with tin that would wipe clean easily. I could "see" it all so clearly. I purchase it with EVERY intention of making it a POTTING BENCH.

I think you've guessed the end of the story. I loaded it up in the back of my car and by the time I got it home I had visions of it ~~ not in the garage ~~ but I liked it so much I could see it fitting into our casual eating area. An open baker's rack would have to be moved and the drop leaf table that served as a side table would have to be relocated also. It took some finagling but it was doable and oh. so. much. fun.

And that's how the buffet turned potting bench turned buffet story goes. Did I mention I still don't have a potting bench?

What about you? Do you long for a potting bench/potting shed like I do or have your potting bench dreams been fulfilled?


  1. Meems, my dear, that is just about perfect. it's a great looking buffet, too. gail PS I do love the ornaments and have a few that also came in a Woolworth box.

  2. Love the buffet and all the gorgeous decorations...I only have dreams of a potting bench...still trying to find the perfect one for me...I also will be looking for something I can reclaim and turn into a potting of these days...

  3. I love the decorations! This year I pulled out every Christmas decoration with visions of weeding out the old and not recently used. No luck they all stayed.

  4. So pretty with the decorations! I made a potting bench out of a bunch of scraps this summer and it turned out too pretty to use as a potting bench and now resides upstairs in the loft.

  5. Love the notion of putting last year's purchases away and they are a surprise when you pull them out.

    My cat thinks the potting bench makes a great kitty lounge. An old wood medicine cabinet fits exactly on the end for storing twine and supplies. Just the right things have a way of turning up. Keep your eyes open.

  6. They are all so beautiful, and looks very ready for the Christmas celebrations. Any guest coming over will surely love your decors. For a potting bench, i just made a makeshift something in the province. What i know of a potting bench is used for gardening, am i right? So i put cement hollow blocks at two ends, put a timber i found in the pile of wood and placed some of my pots on top! Is that a potting bench? LOL.

  7. Meems, I just love the look you have bestowed upon your potting bench. Maybe one day it will make its way outside. After you find something to take it's place inside. ;) Those old ornaments do make the season bright. I have a potting bench. Made it myself many years ago. I tend to pot where ever the mood strikes though.

  8. Love the vintage ornaments!
    Your potting bench is just waiting for the right time to appear.

  9. I can understand why the potting bench ended up inside your house instead of outside. It's just too pretty to get dirty! Love your tasteful decorations -- especially the greenery in the mint julep cups.
    I know what you mean about unexpected surprises each Christmas -- I found a few things I plain forgot I had!

  10. Meems, Just gorgeous! Love it! It's like it belonged there all along. Sometime tell us about the cast iron chair in your garden. Did you strip it/paint it/treat it/do anything to it? It add such character and whimsy to your garden. I'd love to know if you did anything to it to get it that nice bronzy brown color. Knowing you, I bet it's not rust! :)

    Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
    Jacksonville, Florida

  11. What great memory pieces. Your dining room looks so festive and merry.
    Hey, we lollygag around up here in Ohio too. LOL!

  12. i think you did find your potting just took a detour. once the holidays are over and the nostalgic ornaments are packed safely away again you can rearrange once more. (i am constantly doing you well know) i love how everything looks. the simple but elegant arrangement on the eat in kitchen table
    are p e r f e c tion. l love the new 12 days of christmas plates and cups and filling them with the red baubles was brilliant the fact that they were purchased at such a great price makes them even better. you have always had a flair for christmas decor and it just gets better with time.
    i agree it all has to work with what is currently working for the family. my only wish is that i was there to enjoy all the gatherings that i know will be full of great food and warm welcomings.
    love you dear sister and miss you so much at this time of year.
    merry christmas.

  13. Love,love,love your old ornaments!And the cups,too.Great deal you scored!
    But I'm not much into decorating this year.What with all the yard mess going on...
    I saw a potting bench in Southern Living,and I don't think it would be too hard to build.Gonna give it a try.

  14. I enjoyed your series of photos with your ornaments. It put me in a festive mood--thanks! I can see why you wanted that buffet/potting bench, for many reasons including its versatility!

  15. Is there a proper potting bench? What does it normally have? I just use the table and counters in our dirty kitchen. There is also a white table out in front which is for after dinner coffee and drinks al fresco but which is used during the day for various gardening jobs and also for holding up my plants while I take their photos.

  16. finally, i get to 'see' the potting bench turned side server in it's new home! can't wait to see in person too, but this is a good peek in! i wondered why you didn't mention that you got this for a great 'deal' also ... a little finagling with the shop owner and consignee owner, and an approval from your dh, and voila! that 'potting bench' was yours! love all the pics of your other beautiful deccor too!

  17. Gail,
    The boxes are almost as treasured as the ornaments. (((hugs)))

    Reclaim is the key... expect the unexpected and keep our eyes peeled. :-)

    Good intentions anyway. I didn't use many of my decorations but decided to keep them all because I change them up every year.

    I LOVE it... we can change our minds with ease and own it!

    Nell Jean,
    Your cat is smart finding your bench to lounge on while you work. The medicine cabinet is clever.

    You are smart to use what you have and make it work.

  18. Lisa,
    Thank you... I'm glad you like them because they are making my days merry and bright! Myabe one day it will end up a potting bench...

    That's exactly what I thought when I saw this piece... there's another out there somewhere. Although I wonder how many times I can txt Mr. Meems with a potting bench request and still be taken seriously??? LOL

    Oh, I was completely good with the dirty prospects... but then it seemed so practical to hide napkins and placements in those drawers rather than hand tools. And that sturdy middle shelf houses my heavy mixer and large mixing bowls... it's where it belongs ...for now. :-)

    I get lots of comments/questions on that chair. It is definitely a favorite vignette in the garden. It was a gift from my mom for a birthday a couple of years ago. I had my eye on it at my favorite garden center for a looooonnnnggg time. It is heavy iron and I've not done anything to it. The color is a natural patina.

    Thank you... lollygagging is universal I suppose but I associate it with my southern roots. :-)

    Not sure about the detour... I honestly think I'll have to look for another piece. Actually what I'm thinking is to move the baker's rack (the one like you have also) into the garage to use for supplies and potting bench until I get my potting shed. You are better at this than I am... you have that free spirit of moving things about a little easier than me. I love that about you and your home. I SO miss you especially this time of year!!!

    You go girl! If anyone can build their own... you can. Be sure to take photos along the way and share!

    The buffet is working out very nicely. Not only for Christmas decorations but for practical purposes just as I had envisioned. Thank you for visiting.

    Tables and counters are great... any surface that serves the purpose of getting the job accomplished. I think from a female point of view we are always looking at aesthestics as well as practicality. To find a vintage piece of furniture and repurpose it for a potting bench is creative and fun. :-)

    Gigi... COME SEE IT! And yeah... there's only so much room in one post for 'finagling' chatter. LOL

  19. Your new buffet would make a great potting bench, too. Love all your decorations and especially your new holiday dishes. Very festive!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Meems.

  20. Susan,
    I think you are right. I'm not sure I can give it up now that it fits so well into my house. Have a very Merry Christmas!


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway