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Oil drum garden

This was one of those screech-to-a-halt moments during our French trip this summer.......

....... a wonderfully unassuming piece of container gardening in the heart of the Jura mountains.

If oil drums didn't exist already someone should have designed them - for this use anyway!  Great scale and proportions, the simplest of forms, interesting relief decoration, unusual range of colours from earthy to electric and best of all the steel has been left to gradually decompose, going through a wonderful range of transformations of colour and texture as it does so. 

When you look at it, rust is beautiful too - with all the subtle variations of tone and colour.

I love the wonkiness too - altogether they just have so much character. It just goes to show (as I learnt back on my brilliant Art Foundation course at Jacob Kramer College, Leeds (long time ago!!)) the least intrinsically interesting objects are usually the most characterful and beautiful. 

The oil drums were delineating an area in front of a slightly run down house at the edge of the village. Above, you can just see some benches which, along with a big table, the family had put out front to eat their meal al fresco. They were a bit bemused when I asked if I could take photos - I don't suppose many passers by saw their deeply unpretentious oil drum garden as a photo opportunity! 

The French are very good at 'pop-up' (to apply a contemporary phrase) street gardens. 

See my post Les fleurs de la rue where plastic containers were used to create fantastic vases of flowers up and down the street.

And this post on French concrete planters


  1. Uncanny (good word for Halloween!!) our love of rusty oil drums, I've had this nightmare dilema of how you make polychrome Sculpture and I wonder if you're going to beat me to it and use some colour, the other thing is lettering which I have just used and I'm wondering if we are going to see "elf" in raised lettering on a new Madam 50 gallon planter!

  2. Anonymous15/3/13


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