willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs


A Vintage Inspired Garden

If one cannot find me in the barn, they can often find me in the garden. The feel of the dirt in ones hands and the sense of accomplishment when one plants a tiny seedling, nurtures it, and watches it grow into an abundance of vegetable or fruit bearing greens is addictive. At least for me it is!


Integrating vintage elements into the garden has been another love of mine for just like in the home, cast off objects can become gorgeous elements when repurposed in the garden. Christopher and I love making trellises out of old windows that have lost their glass or have broken panes. To make them, you just need 2 windows (that are of the same size) and a pair of hinges. Drill the hinges into the top of each of the window frames to secure the frames together. This enables them to move and to be placed as far apart or as close together as you would like. 


You can make them in a variety of sizes based on the windows you can find. Keep in mind that we always have windows in stock here in the barn and we will have a couple of these trellises available at our sale next Wednesday. We also make them at request and can custom make them for you.

When using them, you simply plant your seedlings at the base of the frame and the tentacles of the plants will grab on to the frame and grow up it. You might occasionally have to direct vines that have wandered elsewhere to grow up the window frame.

Another trellis idea that we love to implement in the garden is not vintage but rather repurposed. It is made out of bamboo poles that have fallen down or broken off from our bamboo bushes. You can easily purchase these poles as well at your local garden store. To make this type of trellis,  you insert 4 poles into the ground in a square pattern and then bring them together at the top. To adhere them together, you use twine wrapped around the poles at four places.

Note to self… do not try this on your own for try as you might, you will not be able to keep the poles where they need to be to then secure them at the same time…trust me on this one. Get a partner to help you.

Speaking of partners, my partner in crime in the garden is often my son Christopher. Many of you see him around the barn sales as well. He is our resident horticulturalist who frequently cuts leaves off of plants, digs up roots and picks berries to bring to me to say, “Mom, can we roast these dandelion roots to make coffee?” or “These stinging nettle leaves can be boiled into tea or made into soup.” I have to say that I am usually a willing participant but I stopped at the stinging nettle.

Christopher and I constructed these and other trellises that both do their job and look natural and pretty in the garden.

Getting back to the vintage elements, we also construct these mini greenhouses out of old windows that have retained their glass panes. They are great to put over young seedlings that might need a little protection when you first plant your garden especially if the temperatures dip down.

Other objects that I like to interject into the vegetable garden are purely decorative such as this old bee keep box and this birdhouse made out of recycled objects. Although, while weeding around this bee box this past weekend, there were a number of honey bees flying in and out of the box so it just might turn out that this decorative object has turned into a functional one… stay tuned!

Vintage iron pieces can always be used in the garden in a variety of ways. The awesome thing about old rusty iron pieces is that they can be outside year round and they only get better! They are long-living, sturdy, and beautiful objects in the garden.


This piece is a new “old” piece that is made out of new metal but when left out in the elements, the patina it ensues is a much better look for me. It has not yet taken its place in the garden but will certainly do so, in the next week. 

The garden is a place of peace for me. Sometimes bringing me moments of wonder that these plants can yield….

… food for one to enjoy that tastes like nothing else when picked right off the vine. (We do not use any chemical sprays so sometimes the plants look a little less for their wear).

The garden incites moments of beauty…

…where I need to leave a weed intact, for its bloom is too beautiful to wipe out…

Moments of creativity in how one can bring the beauty blooming in the garden to the table…

 Moments of wonder that when left to their own devices a plant can spread and triple its yield in a small amount of time…

Moments of accomplishment when the seeds you planted in the still cool soil sprout and produce in orderly rows.


Moments of absolute sweat and hard labor when you neglect the garden for any period of time and when you return, find it covered in weeds. These are not productive harvest material plants people…it is thistle…an incredibly hardy and hard to remove prickly weed that is aptly named and requires brute strength to pull the roots out at its base lest the stem break and you are still left with the part that grows back in your garden.

Moments of therapy when you can spend your time rhythmically pulling out the weeds in a repetitive fashion where your thoughts wander, you ponder problems and you work in silence. It is always good to listen to what your self is telling you. There are instant results from your labor which is always a good thing. 

Don’t get me wrong. The garden is truly a labor of love but one that yields great results for your efforts. When walking out to mine, a sense of peace envelopes me, no matter the state of it for I have come to realize that it is in a constant state of change and enrichment. It replicates life, does it not? When vintage elements are added, the beauty comes full circle and the objects that are integrated into the beds are brought back to life.

If you’re looking for some vintage materials for your own garden, our barn will be open one more time for the Summer on Wednesday, June 21st from 10am~4pm. If you can’t make it on Wednesday, feel free to call or message us to schedule an appointment to shop the barn. We’ll be getting in new vintage finds all summer!

PS…The chicken wire that you see around all of the raised beds prevent our garden helpers from partaking in all the tender plants as they grow. They love the veggies and flowers too! 

I hope that your summer days contain moments that bring you peace, wonder and beauty.


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  1. Judy Doyle says:

    You make “working” in the garden sound so…well – pleasurable – sadly I do not like to play in the dirt (thank goodness husband does)! My love is the “harvesting”….making country bouquets with the herbs and flowers he plants, Picking those bright red tomatoes and pulling up the scallions and radishes. I love all your garden ideas – and also love vintage imperfections in our gardens. Always enjoy reading your blog.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Ha! Ha! Judy! We all have our passions and our hobbies right? The harvesting is pretty awesome too and making things from the bounty of the garden is even better! I too love the vintage imperfections in the garden and the passing of time with the seasons in the garden! Thank you so much Judy for reading the posts! I really appreciate it! xx Meg