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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: