Take a look at this luscious perennial border spotted this weekend in the idyllic Chicago suburb of Western Springs. See anything fishy? Anything out of the ordinary? Anything to make your obsessive gardener antennae quiver with discomfort?
How about in this close up that I took because the contrast was so eye catching?
What about in this planter, one of a pair that flanked the front walk to a really lovely home?
There is definitely something amiss here. Have you figured it out yet? Let me tell you how I got there. The house caught our attention first with its amazing wrap around porch and expansive lawn (everything is more expansive in the Midwest. I had forgotten that after 5 years of old city east coast living). My old friends C & L and I gawked at this beautiful border – lush with hosta and peony and ladies mantle. I whipped out my camera and told L that I would be featuring her neighborhood in my next blog post. I took a shot from one end. I took a shot from the other. I boldly stepped one foot into the border to get up close and personal with the nikko blue hydrangea and the white peony that were such a perfect contrast. Then I do what I always do with a plant I find especially lovely – I touched it.
It was plastic.
The hydrangea was plastic!! Wow. That’s surprising, we commented. Such a lovely border to have a fake plant stuck in the middle of it. Everything else was real. Everything else was lush. These bobbing blue heads were tucked in subtly among the other bloomers. They weren’t garish. They didn’t advertise their plasticity. How would your average passer-by even know that they weren’t real? (I mean, really. How many polite Western Springs residents would be cheeky enough to step into the middle of the border and lay hands on their neighbor’s flowers? Probably not many. Good thing I’m not a polite Midwesterner any more or we wouldn’t have anything to talk about right now).
We took a closer look at the rest of the garden. All real, except for a few sprigs of ill-timed forsythia in the entrance planters. They were a little more obvious, but still, mixed with the honest-to-goodness plants that filled the majority of the space, they could fool the casual observer.
So here’s my question for you. Your shade garden is fabulous, except for that one spot off to the right that really could use a jolt of color. Your sunny perennial bed looks stunning, but a tiny bit of that nikko blue would really do the trick between the phlox and the lavender. Would you fake it?
p.s. Apparently, I’m not the only one blogging about this phenomenon. Check out Christine in Alaska – she’s got some real beauties on this post!