Some New Garden Art

Perhaps it’s not really art, more like garden tchotchkes (Yiddish for a decorative trinket).  Who am I to say which is which? Art or tchotchkes, I wanted more for the garden, especially bird-related items.


I wish I had time to explore flea markets, art fairs, and garage sales. After retirement, perhaps. As it is, frequent travel for work puts time at a premium.

And so I turn to the internet, where I found this Northern Cardinal made out of recycled metal. I think a metal Cardinal is a good decoration for a Midwestern garden. My only complaint is that he’s missing the black bib he should have under his beak.

Even so, I’m pleased with him. He’ll stay under the young Crabapple tree in the back garden for now. He needs a name, though. I might even get him some companions.

IMG_0174 (1)

Also, you may recall we used to have a wheelbarrow planter in the back garden. This was an old, rusty wheelbarrow inherited from the former owners of our house. It lasted a good dozen years for us, but finally it capitulated to the inevitable and rusted out. For a replacement, I found this, which is also made out of recycled materials.

Before planting it up, I doused it in sealant. I also added a plastic liner with slits so that water could escape between the bottom boards.


Then I planted it up with white Pansies.


When I was done, I felt I had done my bit for garden art. Or tchotchkes.


44 Comments on “Some New Garden Art

  1. A splendid cardinal. Let us know what you name him. White pansies in a wheelbarrow are a charming combination.

  2. You could always paint a black bib on your new cardinal, he looks to be a nice addition to your garden.

  3. The cardinal will look even better when all the bulbs around it start to flower! When our kids were young I got them to help me fill an old wheelbarrow in the front garden with pansies, and it was a nice way to get to know neighbors, because everybody commented on them.

  4. I think your cardinal is rather handsome and the new wheelbarrow is reminiscent of old farmyard gardens which inevitably have one out front here, usually planted with begonias! Your ‘tchotchkes’ is what we call ‘kitsch’ here and there is a fine line between that and art which I often cross myself… After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! 😉

    • I wondered if maybe the words are related but according to the Yiddish dictionary tchotchke is derived from the Ukrainian word tsiatska.

      • I just looked on the German wikipedia page and some people think the word Kitsch derives from a yiddish word ‘verkitschen’, which means to sell someone something he doesn’t need!

      • Languages are so interesting! Have you ever read ‘Empire of the Word’? It’s a world history of languages. Yiddish is particularly interesting because it mixes Hebrew, German, and Eastern European languages.

      • Yes, I find language fascinating too – will have a look for that book. Thanks!

  5. I agree with Pauline, you should just give the cardinal a black bib yourself. And I feel pretty sure the cardinal’s name is Chuck, dunno why, just a feeling… He sure is handsome!

  6. I think the cardinal’s name is Bob. You know — as in, “When the red, red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin’ along.”

  7. I like “Chuck” or “Bob”! The bright red “garden art” I have at the moment is a dog toy that has been left outside. The wheel barrow and pansies are charming.
    What I most envy is what looks like weed-free growing areas in your back garden. My beds are inundated with creeping Charlie, henbane, dandelions, wild onions, and worst of all, bindweed.

    • Weed free for the moment, but also grass free. The weeds are coming, especially the plantain and creeping charlie. I agree that bindweed is despicable.

  8. Can never have too many birds in the garden, unless you are in a Hitchcock film. I have an indoor ceramic black bird that got damaged so this summer he’s becoming garden art. No one will notice his chips among the foliage.

  9. I like your redbird. That is what most people call Cardinals. Your wheelbarrow looks like the old fashioned ones I used to see in garden pictures. It is nice that you have it planted up already.

  10. Love the wheelbarrow! I’m a huge fan of garden “tchotchkes” and have a whack of them set aside for when I’ve gotten the borders under control – a few of them are destined to come out of hiding this year as a couple of areas are finally in good enough shape.

  11. Ditto on the wheelbarrow. My Joseph would fit right in! The cardinal is cute, too. Fortunately, it won’t poop on anything, but it also doesn’t sing. Still, the always bright red cheers the garden.

  12. Love your new additions, and enjoying learning a new word. As others have said, it would be easy to paint on a black bib. Time…sighs, there is never enough is there…

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