No, get your mind out of the gutter. I meant plants and flowers. Walking and driving around my town, I had noticed a smattering of frilly, bright greenery. Not that that in itself is strange, but the occasion I’m thinking of was in January and the snow was about three feet deep. That time of year, green things do arouse my suspicions. Green hanging baskets and forsythia bonsai are almost unheard of in summer, so a sighting in January was special. Too bad it was fabric and plastic. To preserve the dignity of my fellow Alaskans, all identifying characteristics in the photos below have been edited out or blurred. I know, I know, that’s no fun at all.
Take the beauty pictured above. If you just blur your eyes, it might not seem too out of the ordinary. Back in focus, I’m wondering where the stem connects to the ground and why is so blooming healthy when there is snow on the ground. We have no, I repeat, no blooming vines that are that early to start growth. So subtle is perhaps not the effect this “gardener” was going for. I’m not the only one pondering this propensity for plastic. Kelly at Life Out Of Doors was hoodwinked recently by some man-made beauties, blue hydrangeas to be precise. She was oohing and aahing and snapping away on the old camera and leaned in for a touch. Yes, you all can guess what happened next. After the shock (and horror?), a funny post on plastic plants.
For a real live researched post on fakies try Gardening Tips ‘n’ Ideas from the godfather at Blotanical (a garden blog community), Stuart B. He even mentions the economy: wow, no such meticulous background info here at LFG. You know if it was on his mind in Australia (and mine in Alaska) it’s at least a phenomenon in the Pacific area. But wait, Mr_Subjunctive in Iowa has a (more edgy, PG-13 rated) take on fakies at Plants are the Strangest People and even discourses on their care, maintenance, and common pests. They get the deluxe treatment, complete with Latin names. Very posh.
Liza in New Mexico at Good to Grow gets a bit ranty (scroll to bottom of post) about fakies and has a firm philosophy about their disposal. Speaking of philosophy, here’s one for Socrates: if you plant a plastic plant, does that make you a gardener? Or a decorator? The one fakie I saw that didn’t cause immediate scorn, revulsion, or imminent vomiting can be found at Nestmaker in Oregon, where Megan writes about a designer (grandpa’s quote about “more money than brains” comes to mind) having a fake boxwood hedge made to cover an eyesore. Not too shabby. And probably more costly than my car. At Go Away, I’m Gardening, Amy in Texas rejects the I Love Lucy method of fakie gardening and decides to stick with the real thing. I think we have represented the US pretty well in the imitation plant department. I’m wondering if fakies are also an international outrage…please weigh in on this if you feel the need.
What do a persons plastic blooms say about them? I can see a theme in the arrangement above. These folks are obviously patriots, with their red, white, and blue mailbox and matching ersatz flowers. Quite cheering, especially for April (yes, that is snow in the background). And always timely as Independence Day (July 4th for for Americans) comes around every year after all…they’re just ahead of the game for six months and woefully behind for another six. A bit like leaving the Christmas lights up year ‘round.
Pictured above you can see the aforementioned forsythia bonsai. It is an incredibly hardy variety capable of withstanding –30F with no protection. I have seen the yard in four feet of snow and the cheerful yellow blooms just shrug the cold off. (Simply amazing or simply synthetic?) Here it is keeping company with another strangely hardy creature, the rare, shy, and very slow moving Porch Swan, Cygnus polyvinylchloridus porchus. Maybe the little documented porch swan nests only in synthetic plants…there could be a graduate degree in this for some dedicated soul.
My one word answer to the above: really? That ficus doesn’t even look real. The forsythia, you could drive by and not give it another look. This doesn’t even pass the drive by test. Maybe the Porch Swan has some distant mock songbird cousin that could roost here. This person is trying…there are lots of perennials in the front yard, however I just can’t in good conscience give an ‘A’ for effort here. Even in the reproduction plant market, there is better than this. I’ll just think positive: maybe they are going to clean it and it’s just resting there for now. And the past month.
We live in a world were fake is often desirable, maybe even better than the real thing. I myself just had some silk wrap fingernails removed. They were gorgeous and high maintenance and impossible to garden with. There is artificial hair, hair/eye/skin/nail color, and implants of all kinds for our bodies, inside and out. The garden has seen it’s share of synthetic: rocks, dead end wishing wells, grass, beehives, all manner of plastic statuary meant to look like animal/vegetable/mineral/gnome, faux (which is a nicer sounding French word for fake) terra cotta, and even sham gardeners. You know the one’s I mean: the painted, wooden silhouette of the gardener (usually rather large in the beam) bending over. If all that and more can be counterfeited, it was only a matter of time before the plastic and silk moved out to the garden in place of the plants.
Where do plastic plants belong?