Meeting Sue Langley

Meeting Sue Langley

Meet Sue Langley, lover of rust and flea market finds, a passionate gardener and photographer who carried her dreams to the California Sierra foothills with her ‘Tractor Man’ & dog, Maggie.

Sue, Maggie and Larry Langley AKA 'Tractor Man'

Sue, Maggie and Larry Langley AKA ‘Tractor Man’


This month we decided to do something a little different and surprise Sue.  We decided a few of us would say a few words about her and share a favorite image or two relating to her from the files that inspire us.  I have to say it is a lot of fun to see our Flea Market Gardening Editor-in-chief from our different perspectives.  I think you will enjoy it too.  So without further ado…enjoy!

Jeanne Sammons:

Sue whittled her way into my cyber-world when Kirk Willis, an Internet friend, mentioned a new Facebook page called “Flea Market Gardening.” I clicked on over to take a peek and found Sue’s philosophical words, “It’s all good. No matter what garden you create, no matter where you end up, it’s beautiful. Your garden is all so personal, different, and belongs to you only.” This is one of my favorite photos by Sue

Pine cones stuck in flower pots catch the snow

Pine cones stuck in flower pots catch the snow

Nell Howard Stelzer

I love how Sue has always made everyone feel welcomed and comments on all the posts. I love all of the projects Sue has shown us, her gardens and surroundings of her home. They are so beautiful!  The one project she did that really inspired me was when she took a bowling ball and turned it into a work of art. She took pictures of the before and after that really helped me to do one of my own.

Sue's bowling ball ready to go. Just glue jewels and stones on according to a design from a magazine picture. The glue is GE II Silicone for exterior windows, of course!

Sue’s bowling ball ready to go. Just glue jewels and stones on according to a design from a magazine picture. The glue is GE II Silicone for exterior windows, of course!

The bowling ball, now "garden art" on a stand in the garden. Later it fell off this plastic stand, so another place had to be found.

The bowling ball, now “garden art” on a stand in the garden. Later it fell off this plastic stand, so another place had to be found.

Julie Brown

I absolutely love this picture (below) because it has everything going on. A bowling ball that has been redone with pretty blue and green gems, a rusty peacock with blue insulator as feathers, drift wood and some pretty Black-eyed Susan’s. The best part about this vignette is that it is visually interesting no matter what time of year it is. It would look just as awesome with some snow.

This metal peacock plant stand, found on trash day, became the new home for the bowling ball .

This metal peacock plant stand, found on trash day, became the new home for the bowling ball .

 Sue says that it was her husband, Larry, the Tractor Man’s idea to use the blue insulators as feathers in the bowling ball ‘peacock’ plant stand, shown below. Great idea!  She says that he finally drank the Flea Market Gardening “kool aide”. Oh Larry, there is no turning back now!  Personally, I think that Sue and the Tractor Man are a match made in Flea Market Gardening Heaven and together they are creating something truly beautiful.

Jeanie Merritt:

Sue’s  talents are enhanced by her love and unadulterated admiration for people and nature.  When I first glanced at this picture she had taken, I KNEW she had captured a beautiful and mesmerizing shot of pure nature. What I didn’t realize was in what form. At first, I thought it was a gorgeous and unnamed butterfly, when indeed, it was a poppy with some fallen petals.

Poppy Butterfly

Poppy Butterfly

Her unique ability to bring us things so very simple that are a treat to our eyes is one of the many reasons I admire her leadership at Flea Market Gardening.  Always making the followers feel special, she encompasses everyone’s work and love of flea market gardening, from a small ceramic gnome hiding in a patch of tulips, to a picture of a majestic wildflower field and she does it with love and care. Never allowing the sun to only shine on herself, she shares the rays.  Her own pictures of the mountains, flowers, and rusty things gone wild in her corner of California offer many of us a chance to see things that we would never normally see, and gives us ideas to use in our own corners of the world.

Marie Neimann:

Sue has a real eye for spotting a true treasure when she sees it when others would consider it trash and not give it a second thought. Take for example when she and her hubby went out to dinner one evening at a nice restaurant. She spotted something in the parking lot that caught her attention. No it wasn’t a lucky penny, or a diamond ring, it was something big, round and rusty.  She wasn’t really sure what it was at the time, but she knew she had to have it!  Turns out, it was a heavy old rusty brake rotor that she immediately saw potential in.  This treasure now sits proudly on a tree stump in her yard, serving as a perfect planter for a happy succulent.

Brake Rotor planter

Brake Rotor planter with succulents

Stephie McCarthy:

Blue glass seems to be on every Flea Market Gardener’s radar.  Take a look at how Sue uses her blue glass collection throughout the year in vignettes that highlight the colors in her environment.

Clockwise from upper left: Myrtle sprigs in a cobalt vase harmonize with the heathery blues in the rusty metal backdrop; vintage turquoise insulators are a bridge between the soft flannel and wood tones, and the vibrant berries and greens; bold sunflowers with red and lime details are a cloud of gold above cobalt glass, anchored by a brilliant turquoise plate; the insulators in a basin of water in warm weather attract all sorts of admirers, including these feathered beauties.

Jane Ochinero Krauter:

Jane says this is her favorite view out Sue’s back door.  Now you can see part of why we all love it when Sue shares her home and garden with us.  I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mind being her neighbor.

Out Sue’s Back door, Photo by Jane Ochinero Krauter

Out Sue’s Back door, Photo by Jane Ochinero Krauter

Nancy K. Meyer

Sue, is the “glue” that makes Flea Market Gardening come together. With all the wonderful and varied ideas we gardeners come up with using “re-purposed stuff” to decorate our gardens, Sue somehow manages to sort it all out and makes sense of it, creating wonderful albums of special interests. Because of Sue, I have discovered the beauty of BLUE in the garden, found a new way to use insulators, found an old wheelbarrow to fill with flowers this spring, planted some Hens & Chicks, and now lust over finding an old ladder (I am still looking)! Sue prods us to think and share with her morning posts and timely questions. She has introduced me to the joys of California and shared her Tractor Man with us. Yes, Sue is one very special lady in my book.

Succulent Tool Caddy Planter

Succulent Tool Caddy Planter

Patty Hicks

The first time I met Sue Langley here at Flea Market Gardening she was asking everyone for ideas on how to redesign the potting bench area along side her garden shed.  When complete, her project was not just about what she had found to decorate the area with and not just her design alone, the project bore the fingerprints of those whose ideas she had graciously integrated into her final design with much gratitude and thanks.

Potting bench, after

Potting bench, after

Now that I know her much better and as I look back at that same project, I see it as much more than her just trying to get ideas.  It is an example of her ability to value and honor the creative ideas of others and the enjoyment she gets in seeing what others come up with.  Personally I also think she secretly loves group projects.

Sue’s infectious enjoyment of seeing what others create in their own gardens and homes has really impacted me and taught me to more fully enjoy even the simplest of projects others create and that is treasure I will always cherish.

Sue Langley

Sue Langley

Thank you Sue for being all you are for all of us here at Flea Market Garden.

A word from Sue:
THANK YOU all of you who surprised me with this profile! Julie Brown, Patty Hicks, Nell Stelzer, Jane Krauter, Marie Niemann, Nancy Meyer, Jeanie Merritt, Jeanne Sammons and Stephie McCarthy…you are all wonderful friends and I feel so honored and grateful for all your very kind words.

See ALL of Sue’s photos:

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20 Comments

20 thoughts on “Meeting Sue Langley

  1. Carol Trull

    Very well done tribute to Sue. I love coming to this page everyday and getting inspiration and just enjoyment of seeing what others have done with the flea market finds in their gardens. Bravo !!!

  2. Larry Langley (Tractor Man)

    Sue was pretty overwhelmed with your gracious and thoughtful comments. I have seen her grow over the years (pun intended) as she has always been a pretty good photographer but now her writing has caught up. I, as well as you, love to read her latest stories which indeed, captures our little corner of the world. We love it up here and love to share it with you. But what we both also love is finding out about all of you and your stories and pictures. The internet can be pretty awesome. I remember just how excited everyone was just a year ago about reaching 500 “likes” on Facebook. Now it’s climbed to over 12,000! Who woulda thunk? But there is a great “core” among those 12,000 and you know who you are. Gotta go, the tractor is waiting. Thanks everyone.

  3. Annie Steen

    I love it~<3~
    You all did such a wonderful job on Sue's profile..
    And Sue thank you for all you do for us and Flea Market Gardening.
    I'm blessed to have you as a friend~ Annie <3

  4. Sheila Hatchett

    I can’t even start to tell you how much I have enjoyed FMG. I am a late comer but was drawn as soon as I saw my kinda rusty goodies decorated in beautiful ways on this site. The people are so nice and ready to help in any way. I can’t post pictures because I use a mobile devise and it won’t show up. I would like to share…..but oh well. I can still see all of yours and can’t wait for the next thing to post. Thank you so much for FMG and the lovely people who make it possible.

  5. Nancy K. Meyer

    I love how the piece worked out and the ‘seeing’ of our Sue through different eyes. Sue is our ‘glue’ and we are lucky to have her at FMG <3

  6. Marie Niemann

    I enjoyed reading what everyone wrote about Sue too. She is such an inspiration to so many and I really appreciate all she does!

    • Karen Francisco

      This is wonderful and so is Sue. She has gotten Me out of a wheel chair And I’m Gardening again After the death of my husband… So I thank all of you Everyday…

      • Nell Howard Stelzer

        That is wonderful ! This page gives blessings that we can’t even imagine.

  7. Nell Howard Stelzer

    The article turned out beautiful with merging all the ways that Sue has been perceived by us. I am so glad to have found Flea Market Gardening,Sue and all the “Flea Folks” as Sue calls us !

  8. This was one of the best projects I have ever worked on and I was so thankful to be able to take part in it. Sue is such a wonderful and talented lady. It was great seeing how everyone’s comments wove together to create the picture of the person we know of as Sue Langley.

  9. Jeanne Sammmons

    Oh, I love reading these replys! Hugs to you all! FMGing is such a wonderful place to visit (each & every day for me!) …love the pics, the ideas, the gardens, the crazy rustic garden people & just the downright sharing done here! Sue has contributed so much & kept the FMGing Facebook page going strong! All those albums…oh what work! I love browsing thru them! ;-)

  10. I love this site! The heart of this site is that everyone truly appreciates and loves on everyone else. It doesn’t matter how small or big the project everyone shares their joy in your success and that doesn’t come easy…it take a great editor and chief to bring that to the table. You have done a marvelous job with this site Sue and it’s easy to see why it has jumped to over 12,000 “LIKES”!

  11. FMG has become a part of my daily life. It’s one of those automatic things like..getting up,brushing your teeth, having coffee, going to the….well you know…. In other words, these people and this site are a part of me…I so enjoy looking at a new person’s picture of their first garden totem and share in their delight and I appreciate seeing the new totems made by the folks who have been doing it a long time and learning new ideas from them. The same as when someone posts a picture of an old rusty bucket, then shows us the transformation into a beautiful garden item with fantastic plants in a few weeks….Every beautiful quilt, no matter how pretty and colorful the pattern, MUST have durable,strong, and efficient threads… FMG and all the “flea folk” are the pieces and Sue and Larry are the threads that bind us all together….I might add that I have developed a friendship here with some of the original Flea market/gardening people and I love them as much as I could if they lived right next door.They have become a part of my “family”…..12,000 “likes” only means that there are lots of people left who will someday soon step into a world of flea market gardening like they have never experienced before…Bring them ON!!!!!!

  12. So glad to “meet” you, Sue –great tribute to one who brings us beauty and joy through media with the loveliest of pictures from you and others. I’m so glad to be a part of the community. Can’t really remember the first time of discovery, but I get excited each time I see an entry–I just click through all the pictures, get ideas to save and hopefully try sometime, or just live in the moment. Thank you for sharing. Thanks to all who gave us the “inside” story.

  13. Kristie Brewer

    I found this site through a friend, and I’m SOOO glad I did!!! This is exactly my kind of “junk”!! I really enjoy looking at everyone’s pictures and reading the comments. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this page! Thank you for all your hard work Sue – it truly is a blessing :)

  14. Andy and Sheila

    My husband and I are big fans of FBG. Thank you Sue for doing such a wonderful job. What a wonderful way for gardeners to connect and share their beautiful gardens and ideas.

  15. Cheryl York

    Sue did you have any idea that you were doing something that would touch so many peoples lives? When I found your page I automaticaly loved it and like so many others it is a part of my daily routine. There is so much to learn here about gardening and something for everyones taste whether it be rocks, rust, gnomes, wheel barrows and so much more. All shared by wonderful people. Thank you for that you do to make this a great place to visit!

  16. I can look back and “feel” the first time I laid eyes on Flea Market Gardening. What a wonderful feeling to know there were others out there who shared the joy I feel in a garden. It is as though I have 12,000 gardens and I enjoy getting to see them every single day. Most days the first thoughts when I wake are of all of you and whose words I will see first each morning. I have made so many good “friends” through FMG, and have also found so many answers to gardening questions, and solutions for problems. Sue, I can’t even fathom the hours you must put into FMG. The enjoyment I receive every day from you and the other faithfuls out there helps me to see the lovliness of the world through so many eyes, and gardens!. Thank you again for all that you do for all of us kindred spirits. Happy gardening!

  17. Marsha Householder

    I am constantly and consistently inspired. Love, love , love this! Thank You So Much!

  18. Utterly composed written content , thankyou for information .

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