Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whirligigs: whimsical or weird?

I suppose my next post will be about gnomes.  Anything is possible if I am writing about whirligigs.

Looking out across the neighborhood, my eye is caught by the sight of a lawn full of whirligigs.  Just what is a whirligig?  What does having one in your space mean?  If I'm feeling charitable, I might say "a touch of whimsy", if I'm a bit surly, "a touch of weird".  But pass it by without making a snap judgement, I cannot.  Certain aspects of gardening always seem to provoke strong reactions.  The decor/art category comes to mind.  One person's post modern outdoor sculpture is another's zoning violation or scrap metal heap.

Another snap judgement category would have to be certain types of annuals.  There is a T-shirt available from a very reputable (and sly) mail-order nursery proclaiming "friends don't let friends buy annuals."  Granted, up here in the far north, a lot more plants are annuals, whether or not they are supposed to be!  Admitting you plant marigolds (in some gardening circles) seems akin to admitting you bought your opera gown at Wal-mart: a bit embarrassing, even if it's true.  I do remember going through a phase (not so long ago) when the thought of a pansy (Viola spp.) in the garden would send a shiver of horror down my spine.  Guess I'm over that, as little blue ones seem to be re-seeding in a corner of the garden.  Very cheerful.  I also came down with a bad case of the ever-popular and sometimes recurring "geranium (Pelargonium spp.) loathes" but I recovered and now enjoy the fancy-leaved varieties in my containers.  Currently, my nose is in the air over gerber daisies and begonias and, though I can't imagine using them now, it is just barely possible that I could be raving about them next year.  I already slipped a little and used Begonia 'Escargot' in a container this year.  Oops. 

I s'pose the point to this ramble is, what you loathe in someone else's yard today may be in yours tomorrow.  Time can make fickle gardeners of us all when it comes to taste.  So when you spy that gnome family surrounded by pink geraniums and a ring of white lava rock, remember, laughing is more fun than crying.  Watching people drive by my yard laughing at my taste in yard art or plants might be a little disconcerting, but no more so than a lawn full of whirligigs.

 No whirligigs were harmed at this (blurry) photo shoot in front of Alaska Mill and Feed in Anchorage.

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