For a long time I’ve had a fascination for old items that are imaginatively ‘re-purposed’ for new uses; especially in regards to garden decor. After all, just about anything looks better when combined with greenery! I find myself moseying through the charity shop or the local recycling centre thinking ‘how would this look with plants in it?’

As a result I have plants growing in teapots, light-fittings, fruit baskets, wheelbarrows and I’ve even embellished an old fondu set with fake succulents.

The one that got me stumped however, was the rusty old sewing machine. I picked it up at the recycling centre one day because it exuded character but what on earth was I going to do with it?

For a long time I’ve had a fascination for old items that are imaginatively ‘repurposed’ for new uses – especially in regards to garden decor. After all, just about anything looks better when combined with greenery! I find myself moseying through the charity shop or the local recycling centre thinking ‘how would this look with plants in it?’ As a result I have plants growing in teapots, light-fittings, fruit baskets, wheelbarrows and I’ve even embellished an old fondu set with fake succulents. The one that got me stumped however, was the rusty old sewing machine. I picked it up at the recycling centre one day because it exuded character but what on earth was I going to do with it? After staring at it blankly for several months, I began by shaking and spraying the spiders out of its innards. After that my husband levelled the base and I proceeded to decorate it with imitation moss, lichens, flowers and fungi. As I did so I was trying to analyse what it is about ruins and regrowth that I find so attractive. In Fairy Foals there is an old lantern, overgrown with weeds, hiding up the back of the garden – the mysterious door to another world. In Bug Dragons there is the ruined fairy city of Felantia; strange shapes rising out of the water, petrified wood covered in moss and other rainforest flora. Ruins are fascinating because you know there is an interesting story behind them, but the regrowth and regeneration of nature is another matter.  Somehow we always want the plants and animals to win. Humans are the bad guys and nature is the downtrodden hero. It’s all our fault. We yearn to see it restored and we want to live in harmony with it, but somehow it never seems to happen. On the contrary the natural world appears to be losing. It is ‘groaning’ according to Romans 8:22. We were meant to be the caretakers of this world, made in Gods image, – but we all know what happened. Restoration will certainly occur but not until sin and rebellion against God is done away with. In Jesus the victory over sin is won; but who will demonstrate the humility to accept it? Vines and grasses grow over the ruins of Chernobyl and remind us both of the shocking nature of our rebellion and the hope of renewal. In Jesus our lives can be restored to their intended glory, and one day the Earth will be redeemed. For me, there is no greater joy than living in the truth of that victory. After staring at it blankly for several months, I began by shaking and spraying the spiders out of its innards. After that my husband leveled the base and I proceeded to decorate it with imitation moss, lichens, flowers and fungi.

As I did so I was trying to analyse what it is about ruins and regrowth that I find so attractive. In Fairy Foals there is an old lantern, overgrown with weeds, hiding up the back of the garden – the mysterious door to another world. In Bug Dragons there is the ruined fairy city of Felantia; strange shapes rising out of the water, petrified wood covered in moss and other rainforest flora. Ruins are fascinating because you know there is an interesting story behind them, but the regrowth and regeneration of nature is another matter.

Somehow we always want the plants and animals to win. Humans are the bad guys and nature is the downtrodden hero. It’s all our fault. We yearn to see it restored and we want to live in harmony with it, but somehow it never seems to happen. On the contrary the natural world appears to be losing. It is ‘groaning’ according to Romans 8:22. We were meant to be the caretakers of this world, made in Gods image, – but we all know what happened.

Restoration will certainly occur but not until sin and rebellion against God is done away with. In Jesus the victory over sin is won; but who will demonstrate the humility to accept it? Vines and grasses grow over the ruins of Chernobyl and remind us both of the shocking nature of our rebellion and the hope of renewal.

In Jesus our lives can be restored to their intended glory, and one day the Earth will be redeemed. For me, there is no greater joy than living in the truth of that victory.