Sandstone Gardens

Sometimes inspiration taps me on the shoulder or whispers in my ear. I get a creative idea or a very detailed download and off I go, to manifest that idea.  And sometimes inspiration takes me by the hand and leads me on an adventure. 

Today, it was more of a field trip for us. Inspiration led me to Sandstone Gardens, just west of Joplin. 

Sandstone Gardens
It was Greg who mentioned this beautiful place. We needed to get out of the house for a while. The City was installing new water lines in the neighborhood and shut off the water on my street. We took in an early movie. And then decided to visit this grand home and garden retail store. 

Sandstone Gardens began in 1986 as a side business in the garage of newlyweds, Max & Vicki Carr. The couple made molds and cast small traditional concrete yard ornaments. After a succesful first year in business, they both quit their jobs and have devoted themselves to growing and developing Sandstone Gardens. 

That’s the biz story. It doesn’t adequately convey the beauty of this enchanting place. When the company was located in Joplin, on S Rangeline, I visited Sandstone Gardens frequently. They had a showroom full of unique items. However, it was the outdoor gardens with their winding paths and attractive concrete statuary that drew me there. 

Sandstone Gardens
When the company outgrew their location, they purchased 68 acres west of Joplin, near the Oklahoma state line, and built a 50,000 square foot building that looks like a country estate. This building is amazing, filled with a vast collection of housewares, home decor items and garden accents, all for sale.  Sandstone Gardens reopened in its new location in 2004. 

But on my first visit there, I was disappointed. Although the huge store was incredible, gone were the gardens with the winding paths, nooks and crannies, benches and statues and gazebos. There were a couple of “garden” rooms full of plants and fountains and statues, however they were enclosed. It wasn’t the same. I never went back. Until today. 

Sandstone Gardens

Sandstone Gardens hasn’t changed its layout. They have added a Bistro. And of course, the product has changed since my last visit years ago. The interior of the store is just as amazing with its gorgeous displays. The garden rooms are still there, and there is a small outdoor area to wander through. 

Sandstone Gardens
Sandstone Gardens
What has changed, is me. I have grown. I no longer place expectations on people or events or even stores. I could walk into Sandstone Gardens today with an openness that I didn’t have before, and simply let the experience unfold. 

And I was delighted with what I saw. I was drawn from room to room, exclaiming over this or commenting on that, and Inspiration walked alongside, tapping my shoulder, or planting ideas into my creative mind and soul. 

Sandstone Gardens
Sandstone Gardens
I loved a display of Alice in Wonderland inspired garden accents. And I found a door in a garden room, which reminded me of my symbol from two years ago, signifying new opportunities and adventure. Everywhere I looked, I appreciated the grace and beauty of this place. I felt my creativity expand. 

Sandstone Gardens
Sandstone Gardens
I even found a statue that looks suspiciously like Gandalf the Grey, the wizard from Middle Earth. I believe he will find his way into my garden this summer! 

Sandstone Gardens
Sandstone Gardens
Walking outside, I realized that the old Sandstone Gardens in town had been my inspiration for creating my own backyard paradise. I suddenly knew what had happened. When the new store opened, without the accompanying gardens and paths, I lost that place of inspiration and also the hope I felt that I could someday create something similar. 

The dream I had didn’t die though. I was just forced to look for inspiration elsewhere, like within myself. Other opportunities came and other doors opened, and as I shifted and grew, I took responsibility for creating my own place of peace and beauty. And I did it. I made my dream a reality. 

Sandstone Gardens My backyard paradise…a beautiful work in progress. 

My garden is a continuing work. Like me it shifts and grows every year. I love it. And I love Sandstone Gardens. I am open to the beauty it offers. I can visit that magnificent place and receive inspiration and purchase items to take home. 

Next week, when I am not juicing, I will return to try a vegetarian lunch at the bistro and let inspiration lead me again through the rooms. I am looking forward to another visit to Sandstone Gardens. 

Sandstone Gardens
Visit Sandstone Gardens website HERE 

Journey 108: Colander Planter

colander planter finished

Today, in spite of thunderstorms and rain, my mom, sister Linda and I headed out into the weather to participate in Sutherland’s annual half price plant sale.  Mom and Linda wanted plants for their “Aunt Annie” containers, among other flowers and vegetable plants, and I had many metal containers still to fill. Rain or not, this was too good a sale, too great an opportunity, to miss.

The rain didn’t deter us or, apparently, other shoppers. It was busy, in a cheerful sort of way, in the garden center at Sutherland’s. We had fun, pushing our carts up and down the crowded aisles, discussing flower choices and what would grow best where. We each ended up with our own unique assortments, since we each have our own preferences and ideas. Linda called her selection of plants the “rebel” assortment.

colander planter ingredients

There were a few plants that we didn’t find at Sutherland’s, so off to Lowe’s garden center we went next. Mom found the central plant for her tub, a beautiful red Gebera Daisy. And I picked up a trailing perennial for my copper watering can and an assortment of succulents to complete a project I was looking forward to doing for the first time. I had a grand time, shopping with my mom and sister, laughing and talking, and not minding the dampness or how wild our hair looked. Okay, maybe it was just my hair that looked wild!

colander planter in process

 Back home, the rain moved out of the area and the sun, at last, came out. I was excited to bring my idea to fruition. On the first day of spring this year, I brought home a metal colander from True Treasures in Bentonville, AR, with the intention of using it as a planter. Serendipitously, the very day I bought the colander, a picture popped up on Pinterest sharing this very idea. I laughed this afternoon, when I pulled up the Pinterest pic again. The instructions for creating the planter were in Spanish. Oh, well….I was confident I could create my own.

colander planter angel loves it

Angel loved the new planter!

And create it I did. Using a coco fiber liner, I cut it to size and lined the inside of the colander with it, and filled it with fast draining soil mix (both items were purchased at Lowe’s). The fun part was adding a variety of succulents. It was an easy project. I look forward to seeing the plants grow and fill out. After the plants are established, I’ll keep the colander-turned-planter on my bistro table in the garden.

watering can prep

With such gorgeous weather, I didn’t stop, but continued adding my newly purchased plants to various metal containers. Four buckets and a large watering can received impatiens and asters in pinks, purples and whites, and bronze and yellow Gazanias. And I tucked the trailing perennial with tiny white flowers, called Trailing Mazus, into the copper water can and hung it on its shepherd’s hook in the hosta garden.

watering can with Mazus

I loved my time in the garden this afternoon. The earth was washed clean from the heavy rains, and there was a freshness, a newness, in the air. Drops sparkled like diamonds on the wet grass. It was a fun and productive day. More weather is moving in overnight, with an 80% chance for thunderstorms tomorrow. I have flowers for my next project, which will make use of a recent purchase during the 2 Friends & Junk show. After the rain….I’ll be back out…puttering in the garden, creating, enjoying, getting dirty…experiencing bliss.

colander planter next project