Design New England

Garden Finds Found at Brimfield

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Signage like this let me know I was at the right place for vintage garden pieces.

Come May, July, and September, the small New England town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, goes all out and transforms itself into an antiques playground for six days by hosting the aptly and simply named Brimfield Antique Show. It bursts at the seams with more than 5,000 dealers, attracting an assortment of designers, homeowners, merchandisers, serious and amateur collectors, and tourists and while this has been happening, rain or shine, for more than 50 years, every day in every show in every year is completely different. One-of-a-kind items are the show’s stock-in-trade, and nowhere else can the astute shopper spot the next big thing in vintage wares than at Brimfield. (An early edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking tucked on a shelf for $250 tells me the foodies are soon to make their mark!). For this spring’s show, however, I was on a mission to find what Brimfield would portend for the season’s trends in garden accessories.

Benches, lounge chairs, bistro sets, planters, pots, potting stands, potting tables, wheelbarrows, watering cans, wicker furniture, trays, baskets — Brimfield has unique, hard-to-find varieties that will give garden spaces the character and history to make them memorable.

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One of the first things I spotted, this charming, haphazardly put together potting table with a sink and water hookup, melted my heart and made me want to plant petunias in my window box as soon as I got home.

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This stately wrought iron bench was in great shape and would be a perfect item to place under a shady tree on a backyard terrace.

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Colorful planters and garden stools from Arch Gate Inc., a company in New York that finds and restores Chinese furniture, would be an inexpensive way to spruce up a garden.

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Delightful hanging wire plant holders with curvy patterns are useable indoors or out.

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Watering cans were everywhere, but I never tire of these perennial (pun intended) old-time favorites. Imagine a collection lining a rustic patio.

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Though not antiques, Sandstone Gardens came all the way from Missouri to offer Brimfield visitors its impressive collection of pots, planters, benches, various statuary, and fountains that would instantly make a garden setting more rich.

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Small items like these frogs and turtles, as well as a mountain of old hose knobs, were entertaining and cute.

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I loved these two birdbaths, especially seeing the dress in the top one span out to form the basin. Very clever!


I have a soft spot for folding chairs and found many, but these two I especially wanted to take home. The one on the left is from Arch Gate Inc. and has a woven seat.
Other than specific garden pieces, what was amusing was a lot of items were displayed in some kind of lovely vignette that made the quick-selling, outside-all-day, losing-your-way-because-you-are-circling-tents experience a glamorous, almost romantic way to find the perfect garden ware.

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These images could double as inspiration for setting up your own garden space.

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Much as I tried, it was difficult keeping my attention solely on the garden with things like these amazing old fans there. I guess you could find a spot for that outside somewhere, right?

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Vintage fishing rods never get old!

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Textiles galore. This vender attracted me with the understated country home feel.

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Walls were full of glassware, and I loved this demitasse set with metal frames and saucers.
The next times for Brimfield Antique Show is July 10 through 15 and Sept 4 through 9!

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