Heavy Metal Comeback
What I’m referring to is the long, trough-like planter in the photo above. A heavy metal tank with an jagged opening cut into it lengthwise, I’d had one four or five years ago. Thing was I sold it to my friend Britney, and upon the ol’ rusty, riveted, way-too-heavy thing’s departure I began to pine for it. It didn’t matter that I’d never come up with a satisfying purpose for the thing, or found a spot for it where it didn’t look out of place, I still thought I’d made a mistake letting it go. Feeling this way bugged me; I pride myself on not sniveling over departed things. I thought I’d feel better seeing the trough in its new home atop Britney’s awesome hillside deck, but no: It had become the one that got away.
So imagine my delight — shock, really — when I was visiting my friend Bobbi’s shop and I saw the same trough in her garden area! Of course it wasn’t the same thing, but it was very, very close. Giddy and dizzy, I ran inside to ask her about it: Where’d it come from; who was selling it; how much?! It had been part of a pick by a local dealer, in San Bernardino county somewhere, and was $80. Now don’t hold me to these details; fact is I was so insanely excited by the sight of it that I may have all of them wrong. Anyway, I paid for it and begged Bobbi to put a sold sign on it lest it slip through my grasp again. Before it was delivered to the Rancho I was scouting around for a stand that might hold my prodigal trough off the ground, something metal and in a compatible state of rusticity. When none of my usual sources came through for me, I decided I’d have to have one made, probably by Martín, in nearby Perris Valley.* I arranged for the trough’s delivery, planning to measure it for a stand once it arrived. But when the trough arrived there was another surprise: It fit perfectly in a stand I already had! Made of welded steel, the stand featured four splayed legs, two thick curved bands of steel up top, and a mesh shelf below … Oh, and there’s one more thing: I’d bought the stand from Martín months before!
With the stand and trough united I was excited to fill it with plants … sadly, that would have to wait until scheduled exterior house painting had been accomplished … something that took months to accomplish due to weather. Finally, the day had come: House was painted, everything had been moved back into place and I could finally buy plants for the trough. I wanted to buy them from one of my fave local succulent sources, but there was a problem. Much of his stock had fallen victim to frost, and the remaining stuff that looked good was going to the upcoming succulent show. Happily, his cacti looked good; I bought a boxful of his best and they worked out smashingly. I’d come home with more than I needed, so I planted the surplus in complementary vessels of galvanized steel, cast iron and ceramic. I’m very pleased with my cactus garden and enjoy the idea that my trough is back where it belongs!
*Check Martín‘s listings on craigslist (Inland Empire key words: martin perris); 951-322-9915. A welder/sculptor, Martín’s a tireless picker and junk vendor; he’s got stuff at his home, as well as several yards off-site. Scroll through the photos on his craigs-listings and you’ll see that he’s got lots and lots of stuff!