This is my neighbor Jill in front of her spectacular stone garden wall, which incorporates a collection of found objects, from wine bottles to seashells to pottery to travel souvenirs. When Jill was building the wall, she started to leave extra objects on the stone steps, and a “trinket garden” was born. It’s a destination for neighborhood kids, who usually leave little treasures in return for what they take. Jill seeds the steps with things like marbles, seashells, costume jewelry—and kids leave a hodgepodge of plastic toys and all kinds of things. I like to stop and scan the inventory from time to time just to see what’s there; my all-time favorites are a “I’m the 99%!” button and a leather motorcycle skullcap.
When she started the trinket garden, Jill says she was after the same mystery that Scout and Jem felt when Boo Radley left them gifts in his tree. “The wall set something in motion, and I just let it be what it’s going to be. It’s much more magical than I could have programmed.” The treasure spot/trading post and the garden wall, which Jill designed with a welcoming arch and at the “right height for leaning on”, have become a place for neighbors to meet each other, to stop and chat, to give and take. Isn’t that the kind of wall—or bridge—we would all want to build?