Dust to Sawdust: Reclaimed Cypress Planters
Big-box store lumber gets the job done, but when raw material comes with a story, the finished product is that much sweeter.
Last summer I enjoyed a relaxing week with family in Wimberley, TX, and spent the better part of my dusks and dawns fishing the Blanco River.
The water was a quick walk from our AirBnb, a riverfront home nearly washed from its bank one year prior to our visit. The 2015 Memorial Day weekend flood in Wimberley is well documented, stories of heartache and heroism worth the read.
Several accounts of that night recall the piercing sound of hundred-year-old cypress trees snapping like twigs in the floodwater.
Earsplitting cracks filled the air as huge cypress trees tumbled over, wrenched loose by the rushing water.
-Thompson, Jamie. “When the River Rises.” Texas Monthly. May 2016.
Toward the end of our stay, our host stopped by to say hello. She shared her story and lamented the loss of the trees. Coincidentally, her truck was stacked high with fallen cypress she had milled for the rebuilding effort. When she offered, I reluctantly agreed to take a few boards.
I read it takes up to six months for cypress to dry appropriately, so I sticked and stored the lumber in June, and broke it out in December for a Christmas surprise.
To thank her for our Wimberley getaway, I built my mother-in-law a pair of outdoor planters, featuring wood from the fallen cypress tree.
The frame is built of cedar, the side panels red oak, and two cypress boards yielded enough wood to craft the criss-cross accents.
These two Instagram videos document the build, in part.
The finished planters are 20”W × 20”D × 24”H, can be filled with soil or a potted plant, feature an adjustable shelf with drainage, and are resistant to the elements.
I suppose the only thing truly resistant to the elements is the human spirit. Go visit Wimberley, cool place, thriving—shop, eat, float, fish, relax. And stop by the Central Texas Bonsai Exhibit, Jade Gardens.