It's really not spring yet, but to go shopping you wouldn't know it what with all the summer clothes and sandals on the shelves. (Side note: I actually heard myself say [to myself] "Yes, it's maternity but it IS size small," before I threw something on sale in the cart today.) But here in Utah there is snow on the mountains, and we still need to wear coats. Nevertheless, it is fun to start thinking about yard work again, or in my case--to start thinking about the yard work our Hispanic laborer will soon be doing for us. I usually get ideas for my yard from magazines or seed catalogs, but as I was driving around today, waiting (hoping) for Ben to fall asleep in the car as is my usual practice, I noticed some interesting landscaping ideas in my neighborhood--remarkable for their uniqueness.
The first thing that caught my eye--and this might work well for your home--was a grouping of large butterflies affixed right onto the front of the house. Generally you see these butterflies in groupings of threes. Perhaps that's how they are sold? Although I've never seen them for sale or advertised anywhere. What strikes me about these butterflies is their scale. They are, perhaps, 1,000 times life size. Do the people who display these decorations wish butterflies were that big? In a perfect world would butterflies be that big? You just have to ask yourself, if butterflies were that big, would we still regard them as such lovely creatures? I say no--a resounding no. Still, as a decoration it's not quite the stuff of nightmares.
I was a little surprised to see an abundance of fake flowers/ivy. As I mentioned before: I do not live in Californian where a mild climate might allow for year-round flowers to sprout enthusiastically around the foot of your mailbox. It is winter. Most yards are completely dead and brown so the placement of fake plastic flowers and ivy in window boxes, around mailboxes, and, in some cases, straight into the ground haphazardly around the yard is fairly conspicuous. The snow just barely melted. It will probably snow again. So I think these homeowners must be going for an ironic theme in their yard. And I can appreciate the subtle humor of it, as well as the beautiful contrast between dead/fake alive.
I have seen the use of a focal point in gardening magazines, so I am familiar with that. But the people around my neighborhood are so creative. They not only create a focal point in their yards, they also convey a sense of history with an unexpected object: The wagonwheel. I don't know where these wheels come from. Presumably they are handed down from family to family to spruce up flowerbeds and grace walkways. Some people have more than one. In fact, while the wagon wheel is the most common, there are enough plows, partial saw mills, and sun-bleached skulls around my neighborhood that I'm wondering if there was some meeting I missed wherein we decided to open our own Frontier Village.
My last and favorite idea is an important aspect of the Frontier Village flair. We have a profusion of what I can only describe as black wooden cowboy silhouettes, though they can take on other shapes as well--like cats or little ladies smelling flowers. These black figures can be seen nailed up all over my part of town. I find these figures especially puzzling since I have never encountered them in any other place in my life. At a certain time of day, they might actually pass for shadows, which is, I suppose, their intended purpose. But the rest of the time when the lighting isn't right they aren't fooling anyone. So maybe they are to be appreciated simply as objects d'art. One thing is clear: I must find a way to get on the Christmas list of the builder (creator?) of the black cowboy silhouettes.