Not for the Birds!

What is this summer’s must-have accessory for the garden? If you said “birdcage,” you are correct.

If you’ve visited antiques shops, flea markets, vintage shows, garage sales or websites such as Pinterest of late, no doubt you’ve noticed that birdcages are everywhere. The sudden proliferation of the cages is being accredited to the fact that as older generations downsize, those attic treasures from the ’50s and ’60s (when it seemed that everyone had a canary or parakeet) are hitting the resale market.

As a result, birdcages have become this summer’s favorite DIY project for adding a touch of vintage to porches, decks and patios. DIYers are reviving them with paint and filling them with everything from flowers (both real and faux), houseplants, succulents and vines/trailers to herbs (aroma is the added bonus). The cages are also being used to hold candles/lighting and small statuary (such as birds!). Some DIYers are embellishing the cages with silk butterflies and other winged creatures.

Who knew that birdcages have a storied history? While bird keeping dates to ancient civilizations, its popularity peaked during the Victorian era, when pampered birds were treated to cages that were works of art, often taking their inspiration from Asian pagodas, German cuckoo clocks and Gothic castles. Cages were made of materials such as exotic woods, rattan, bamboo, wrought iron and metals.

With the arrival of the 20th century, styles such as Art Deco and Arts and Crafts influenced the design of birdcages. By the 50s and 60s, the cages had become more utilitarian in design and utilized materials such plastic.

So, if you’re looking for a weekend project, head for your favorite source for vintage and create your own birdcage planter.

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