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Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Plants are Difficult; Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery.

Last Saturday there was a big football game going on between the Seahawks and another team.  The winner of that game would move on to play one more game, the winner of which gets to go to the Super Bowl.  I don't know what any of that means which explains why we decided on that day, in the driving rain and gale force winds, to motor for an hour to visit  Molbak's Garden and Home.  The rain was coming down so hard  (and sideways)  that it was not  possible to take any outdoor pictures.  Fortunately, Molbak's has quite a bit of covered space and extensive indoor areas. The sounds inside the nursery were amazing - The pounding of waves of rain against the plastic surfaces was deafening at times and the wind smacking the panels around made me wonder if there were a hurricane shelter somewhere. Molbak's like just about every other large plant retailer in the area is having a 30% off sale on all houseplants and pots during the month of January.  Although there was a time in the 1970's  when I threw stoneware pots and tied macramé plant hangers and had a room full of houseplants, I'm not really a houseplant person.  A strange statement since my house is full of plants all winter but those are really outdoor plants having a little vacation.  Anyway, a plant sale is a plant sale and I'd been admiring some bromeliads (Aechmeas and a Vriesias) for a year or so but the prices were a little too high for me.  Armed with some extra Christmas cash and the hope that those plants would be part of the sale, we ventured forth. 
 
 
 I'll share more about the houseplant sale and the explosion of spring happening in the covered outdoor spaces later.  This post will deal with selections for people who have given up  growing  houseplants.  Artificial plants have come a long way since the plastic flowers of the 50's and silk Ficus leaves drilled into white birch branches of the 80's! 

I honestly think that some of these are lovely and they certainly require less water than the succulents they're imitating.  Plus, I dig the pots that look like they were made from used cans.

And in case Tillandsias are too demanding for you, these only require a little bit of water to wash the dust away every year or two. 

Also, unlike real plants, these will never outgrow the composition and require repotting. They also won't get leggy if you  have insufficient light.

There's even black mondo grass!

Agave 'Blue Faux'?   (Get it? Blue Glow?) 

Loving these!

What's more exciting than a Christmas cactus full of buds?  Having one in full bud forever!  Sorely tempted but I think my living ones might get jealous.



 There were some great artificial plants to play with here but I decided to pass on them for now. 





I know that we gardeners like the challenge and change of real plants but some of these are kind of cool.  What do you think?  Would you ever have faux plants in your home or is this sort of thing simply beyond the pale?    One wonders WWMD?  (What Would Martha Do?)
 

43 comments:

  1. Gosh I remember those from when I visited several years ago. They must be popular (selling like hot cakes) for them to still have such a huge selection. I understand there is a place for such things but I'm not their target customer. Fake made to look real isn't my thing. On the other hand I am very intrigued by those fake protea (?) blooms in your last image. Are they metal? That I could love. Fake that looks fake...especially metal, love that.

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    1. I agree with you about fake looking fake being cool and remember you posting something about the falsies. I don't know why these grabbed me when I visited but it seemed strange that they would make immitations of the easiest plants to keep alive that exist. Now, if they made some realistic blue poppies...

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  2. I'm going to assume that you also got some pictures of real plants, including whatever you bought, and are going to do a second post about this trip. Pretty please? Those do look awfully real. A lot of the little succulents that I put in my front window planter all melted in the freeze, but they're only a couple of bucks apiece every year at the big box stores. I have to admit it is kind of tempting to think I could fill it up with these and never have to plant it again.

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    1. Oh yes I'll post more about Molbaks! I thought of you and that fabulous garden in San Francisco when I saw all the bromeliads on sale (came home with several.)

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  3. They do look real in photos but I expect they don't feel real, or contribute anything to indoor air quality. Despite the low care requirements (and the fact that many of my own living indoor plants suffer from a degree of neglect), I'm afraid I just can't buy in.

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    1. They don't feel real at all nor do they look real if one gets very close to them. While I didn't buy any of them, I thought they'd be fun to experiment with to create combinations of shapes, colors, etc. that could later be done with living plants.

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  4. The tillandsias in particular look real and very convincing, some you can still tell. Same as Loree, fake looking fake would be our choice if we have to go on the fake direction.

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    1. I agree with you and didn't buy any of these but for some reason they amused me because tillandsias and succulents are some of the easiest plants to grow so making immitation ones seemed silly.

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    1. So what I'm hearing you say is maybe not?

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  6. I just can't get on board with these, ever though they've come a long way. I inherited some that got a second life as an accoutrement to a crazy garish Kentucky Derby hat.

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    1. I think that spray painting them metallic colors would make them really special!

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  7. I have one houseplant and that's a Christmas cactus a friend gave me. But I'd love of of those pink and green things that looks like an octopus! Brave to venture out in crazy rain. I am solid on coming to the Blogger Fling this July. Will you be there?

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    1. Oh yes, I'll be there! I had so much fun at the Fling in San Francisco last year and Portland is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from my place so I'll be there and am very much looking forward to it. Portland is a wonderful city that we don't visit often enough. There seem to be more gardeners in Portland than in a lot of cities and a lot of great gardens and nurseries so we're in for a treat! The Pacific Northwest is really a beautiful area of the country, something that we who live here sometimes take for granted. I'm so excited that I'll get to meet you in person as I feel as if I already know you and greatly enjoy your humor!

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  8. I don't thumb my nose at these decorative "plants". They are very attractive (although at $54.99 their price is not). I admit to having one in the bathroom and it only requires a rinse once a year. But there is no comparison to the joy we get from the real thing! And speaking of the real thing:
    I bought my tickets for the Flower and Garden show yesterday at the West Seattle Nursery!

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    1. Hooray! The big price tag was for an arrangement of them in a decorative pot. The individual plants weren't that pricey.

      Way cool that you're going to the show. I'll be there Thursday and Friday and have lunch plans on Thursday and will be walking around with Alison from Bonney Lassie but would love to meet you if you'd like to join us.

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    2. Thank you so much for the invitation. Unfortunately Wednesday morning is the only weekday morning available to me and I expect to be out of there by noon; it's a regular work day for me.
      Every year I tell myself I could skip a show one year, but when February rolls around I can hardly stand it anymore. Its like a Superball party for gardeners.

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  9. I don't care one flip what Martha would do. I think those arrangements are beautiful and would have one in my home in a heartbeat. Coincidentally, I just posted on faux succulents today myself, only mine are cheapies from Target. :-)

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    1. Oh Pam, just another reason that I love you! Of course I'd love to have real plants everywhere but there are some very dark places in my house where mold is the only thing that grows naturally. I can't wait to see what you posted!

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  10. I sure like those pots, too - that look like tin cans. (Wonder how I could "score" some to achieve the same look...... hmmmmmmmm.)

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    1. If you figure out how to do it, let me know! I think they weren't very expensive so it might be easier to buy them but there's something special about saying that you made them yourself.

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  11. I'm not proud. I have one of those sitting atop a high shelf with an arrangement of (real) gnarled vines, lichens and ball moss from the woods behind me. If you can't get nose-close to sniff or feel them, if they look real from a few inches away and they're not composed of out of season blooms, I say why not use them in a difficult place? Too many rules, people; too many rules!

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    1. I agree and even have a few silk flower arrangements that I enjoy. I'm one of those people who finds it hard to cut flowers from my garden because they last so much longer outside and I'm not really great at cutting the stems of cut flowers every couple of days and changing the water.

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  12. Those are incredibly life-like. What really trips my trigger though are the containers. Those distressed vintage-esque galvanized goodies--very cool.

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  13. I think they're very cool. They look real and the reason I have one is because I don't have to water it. I'm really not good with houseplants because of the whole watering thing. So much more fun to do outdoors which is why I struggle keeping all my tropicals alive inside in the winter. Anyway, thumbs up from me!

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    1. Glad you like them. I acutally bought some house plants and am hoping that I can remember to water them.

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  14. The plants you discover are always great but I especially like the unique containers. I'm always on the look out for those. Love the chair---looks like it was made from pallets.

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  15. Huh. An idea comes to me - what about native plant gardens - but with all plastic plants! And plastic pollinators that would be glued directly onto the plastic flowers. Brilliant, right?

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    1. You're simply brilliant! My glue gun runneth over!

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  16. They do look real I have never seen such a range of artificial plants but- No, No, No.Jamais. Don't do it even if you think the containers are cool. We are gardeners, we grow things.. That's what gardeners do. GROW THINGS. Dusting doesnt count as gardening.
    Now show us the real ones.

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    1. I'm glad that dusting isn't part of a gardener's work as I only do it every few years. Really, why bother, the dust will just come back, right? A house is not a home unless you can write "I love you" in the dust!

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  17. That Loree...always taking the words out of my mouth. Nuff said.

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    1. You know if you bite her fingers next time she tries that, she'll probably think twice before doing it again!

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  18. I think Americans buy enough shoddy crap from China as it is. Here's to the real deal.

    Good post!

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  19. They are stunning and I would definitely succumb to some of them.

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    1. They were tempting but my house is so full of stuff already that it was easier to leave them there.

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  20. Hmm. I'm wondering now why I waste my time trying to grow real plants. If the fake plants looked real enough, what difference would it really make? If everyone who saw the plant thought it was real, and I was the only one who knew it wasn't, well, then, why not?
    I didn't see any fake cactus there but maybe some store here will start carrying them.
    Oh, and by the way. I know about football, since a team here is involved. It's on TV, takes up the whole day, yet the entire action itself takes about ten minutes. Everybody stays inside and the streets are pretty much empty.
    The strange thing, and I mean very strange thing, is that people who find this fascinating automatically assume that everyone else finds it fascinating. It isn't, but try telling them that.

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    1. I have a couple of plastic potted barrel cactus purchased at a thrift store several years ago as a joke. They live happily in a room that I only enter once a year or so but if you'd like to give up that tedious and time consuming growing of real plants, I'd be happy to send them to you. You'd have much more time to play with Chess. (This message brought to you by the coalition of purebred border collies.) Yes, the football craze has hit this area as well with flags and signs hanging from buildings and newscasters (you know, those entertainers who used to report the news) slipping "go Hawks" into every sentence. Sort of like teenagers talking about sex - the whole action only takes about 10 minutes but the hype is interminable.

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  21. Very attractive Picnic benches photos to elaborate nature.Thanks for sharing...

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  22. OK, I know I'm late to the party. But let me take up the banner for these very real-looking faux succulents, of which I own quite a few and have made arrangements for friends who adore them. Why? Because we are snowbirds who live in the PacNW all summer and the California desert all winter. These arrangements are very GC in our desert (geographically correct), and we just cover them with a pillowcase when we go away. Lo and behold, when we return in the fall, and whoosh off the pillowcase, there are our lovely arrangements adding a touch of nature and whimsy to our lazy days in the winter sunshine. So don't knock them till you've retired and live in two places.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.