A Private Garden in Green Bay

A Private Garden in Green Bay

Part of Ep. 1801 More Places to Visit

Visit a private garden where art created with found objects takes center stage. The yard and garden belong to Deb and Kim Freeman in Hobart.

Premiere date: Mar 06, 2010

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
I am standing in front of one of the world's largest lawn ornaments. I am in the yard and garden of Deb and Kim Freeman in Hobart, Wisconsin. This is great. This is my kind of lawn ornament. 

Deb Freeman:
Thank you, thank you. It is a very fun elephant. This was something that my dad surprised me with one day.

Shelley:
How do you surprise somebody with something like this?  

Deb:
Well, it's a half-ton elephant and you don't get one of these every day, that's for sure. And it's got shovels for ears, because we're great gardeners. And it's got this wonderful movement thing. It's just a wonderful thing and reminds me of my dad every day. He's unfortunately no longer with us, but I see this outside of my kitchen window every day, and it's out in the chicken coop, and the girls take dust baths underneath it.

Shelley:
So it's kind of in an African setting. It could be the Serengeti, I suppose. He made it?  

Deb:
He made it for us and he made quite a few other things, large things. The next week he showed up with a dragon that's about six feet long, and that's in our perennial bed along our driveway. And then the week after that, he showed up with this giant zebra, which is out in our meadow. So he's made some rather large things over the years. And we collaborated on a lot of small things, too. Lots of fun things, too.  

Shelley:
So it's really become kind of an addiction to decorate your yard and garden with objects of art that are truly recycled.  

Deb:
Oh yeah, everything is very much recycled. And there's an element of whimsy in these things.  

Shelley:
I think every yard should have some.

Deb:
Absolutely.  

Shelley:
Let's look at some of your first projects. 

Deb:
Okay, great. This chicken was one of our first collaborations. I always wanted chickens and when we moved out here our neighbors were burning a pile of junk and I got these wonderful pieces of mattress out of their pile. And to me, they just said "wings." And I had this broken watering can and the shears, so it made a wonderful chicken body. And then Dad had to weld the feet on, so we could have them be wired into the ground. So he stands up. So this was one of my first chickens and now I have real ones, which are better. 

Shelley:
Right, sitting under the slide that you've carpeted.  

Deb:
Yes, they climb up there and eat. But they're working girls, because we have them help us out with bugs in the garden and in the orchard, and they're part of our integrated pest-management that we're trying to do here. And of course fertilizer, and they're really great fun.

Shelley:
Entertainment, too. And you've moved on from things that were welded and needed to be created, to just found objects that have become works of art. Can we go look at those?

Deb:
Sure, I'd love to show you. Shelley, this is something that is kind of fun. These are fireplace andirons, and they happen to be flowers and so of course, I had to buy them, because I'm a gardener and I just put them underneath this bird feeder. And it's just kind of fun. And the birds perch on it and anybody can do that.

Shelley:
There's no welding, nothing, they're art. 

Deb:
You just sit them down and they're pretty funny.

Shelley:
And you don't have to water them at all, either. 

Deb:
No, they look good all the time.  

Shelley:
You had something else that caught my eye right away. These are fabulous, they look like snails.  

Deb:
Yes, they kind of do. Actually these are old horns from a car or a tractor. The plants grow up in between them and they're interesting without the plants, even.

Shelley:
They're fabulous.  

Deb:
Thank you. 

Shelley:
Now, this one. Yeah, this is kind of fun. 

Deb:
This a collaboration of my dad and me. This is an old lawnmower and then rebar and some old disks and this one is welded, but you could just get rebar and put it down in between your blades and made it into a bird feeder. And an insulator, and the birds can eat.

Shelley:
And look at the way it really sets off the flowers. Your garden is gorgeous and then you add in these fun objects, this is great.

Deb:
Thank you.

Shelley:
By the way, this is a private garden, but through the magic of television you get to visit it along with us. Let's go look at a few other things that you had that anybody can do to make their garden artistic. 

Deb:
Sure.

Shelley:
Before we look at some really simple things we can do, we've got to talk about this fountain. You and your dad collaborated on this.

Deb:
Yes, we did. The top of it is actually a copper fire pit. And then the funnel that makes the flower that's a handmade funnel. And I cut up some pottery that is the leaf on it. And it makes a wonderful sound in the garden and it's good for the birds.

Shelley:
It adds to this courtyard so much. What a beautiful place to sit and hang out, I love it. This looks like a very lovely, fancy pot. What is that?

Deb:
Actually, that's some salvage from Lawrence University it's from the bio-chem department. It's a sink, so it has a drainage hole. It's perfect for a plant.

Shelley:
Very classy looking, too. And these, too, this is just so fun. This is an antique ash tray from the 1920s. What better way to use an ash tray in our smokeless society that we're becoming. It's a great idea.

Deb:
Thanks.

Shelley:
And Deb, what is this?

Deb:
It's an old wire basket that is now a tulansia holder and I hang it up on the patio in the summer.

Shelley:
It's like wall art. 

Deb:
And then it spends the winter inside. And they don't need any water.  

Shelley:
They don't need soil, either. What's that on the table?

Deb:
Well, this is potholders that are made out of old bathtub feet, and they're welded together. I have quite a collection of those. And they're very heavy, which is great because we have so much wind and they make wonderful pot holders, elevate your pots.

Shelley:
And how classy does that look, too? This is great.

Deb:
Thank you.  

Shelley:
And I really like your scepter.

Deb:
Thank you, this is a curtain finial, and I use them in pots just to be silly. And there's the other part of it. And it's got a toilet bowl float in here just to add some interest to the pot. And it's sitting in a milk strainer. So that also has drainage and it all works together. 

Shelley:
Okay, let's go back to the toilet bowl float.

Deb:
It's pretty silly. Actually, I have a large fireworks-looking piece of art that my dad made for me out of toilet bowl floats. And that's over in another part of the garden

Shelley:
I look at that and I would never recognize it as coming from a toilet. It's amazing how artistic it looks in your pot.

Deb:
You just have to keep your eyes open. You never know what’s out there.

Shelley:
You and your dad must have had an awful lot of fun doing this.

Deb:
Yes, we did.  

Shelley:
What a great way to garden.

Shelley:
Thank you for letting us visit.

Deb:
It was our pleasure.

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