PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson
November 14, 2017

With autumn winding down and winter rapidly approaching, I have been busy “battening down the hatches” on my farm and preparing for the cold and snowy weather to come. In fact, as I’m writing this, it’s snowing outside, and there’s an inch or two of snow already on the ground.

One of my last projects for the season was planting a couple rows of flower bulbs in a new garden bed. The planting went very well—fortunately, the ground hadn’t frozen yet. Yet because the new bed borders a lawn, I worried that its exact location would blur next spring when the grass starts growing and it’s time to mow. After all, I wouldn’t want to inadvertently mow down the flowers. (And that’s never happened before, right?)

Rather than assume that I can identify the boundaries of the flower bed next spring, I decided that a visual marker would help me see it. Preferably, the marker would be something attractive and interesting to look at, rather than a couple of stakes or flags.

Fortunately, I had just the thing—old bricks!

As I described in an article earlier this year, I had the good fortune to stumble across a sizable pile of very old bricks half-buried in leaves and pine needles beneath a tree on my farm. Many of them are stamped with the names of their manufacturers, and after doing some research, I determined that the bricks are at least 70 years old. What could be better than using these old bricks for new projects? I had already used some to build a brick walkway at the entrance to a garden, and here the bricks would be perfect for building a simple barrier to mark the boundaries of the new flower bed.

While in the future I might essentially lay a miniature brick wall with mortar to hold the bricks together, for now I kept things simple and laid two layers of bricks in an interlocking pattern. It’s not all that sturdy, but that’s part of the charm—it’s uncomplicated, rustic and easy to modify in the future if I need more room for flowers.

With this project complete, I guess winter can come. Or, if it feels so inclined, it can hold off for a while longer, and I’ll be sure to take advantage!

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