back garden Timmerman Daugherty is reinventing herself, changing from an attorney into an artist. And, she says, it’s “a transition much easier to make than you would suppose, especially when you start with your house and gardens as your pallette.”

It started with the winter blues: I wanted my small rowhouse garden to be aesthetically pleasing – at least to me – all year, not just during the growing season. One Friday evening I discovered a pile of rusted and beautifully shaped boiler parts in my alley; they became the fencing for my new rust garden.Although I never was much good at traditional gardening, it turned out that in the artful arrangement of trash I had found my calling. The rest, as they say, is history.

front porch recycled sculptureTimmerman was raised by Quaker parents with a strong recycling ethic, and practiced her creative “dump-shopping” through the sixties and seventies. Nowadays she shops in her neighbourhood alleys and in thrift shops, and collects the stained-glass discards of other artists to create her works of whimsy.

I had been raised to consider yards decorated with pink flamingos, elves and gnomes, plastic ducks, shell mosaics and shrines to dead pets to be vulgar. Now the creation and study of such yards is my passion.

She confesses to having a garden gnome — but only one! Because, after all, as garden art goes, a gnome statue is just not weird by the Weird Gardens standard…

In Timmerman Daugherty’s garden, you’re just as likely to find a pair of mannequin legs waving gently in the breeze, or Yoda poking up his wizened little head from an expanse of silvery mosaic tabletop, stained-glass flowers among the fairy lights, and a twelve-foot-tall tree made of recycled bottles…

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