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Would these hanging potted plants even be noticeable if they were not circled?

Container gardening is overrated. Perhaps not so much now as it had been while it was more of a fad a decade or so ago, but it is still overrated nonetheless. Most plants are happier in the ground than they are in confinement. They want to disperse their roots freely to where the goodies are, and not contend with the unnatural temperature fluctuations of contained medium.

There are only a few exceptions for which containment of potted plants is an advantage. Houseplants are the most obvious exceptions. Also, plants that are sensitive to frost can be relocated to sheltered situations for winter if contained. Potted orchids and other flashy bloomers can be prominently displayed while blooming, and then returned to utilitarian locations as they finish.

The justification for the hanging potted plants in the picture above escapes me. Does anyone besides me even notice that they are there? They are hung too high for anyone on the sidewalk to appreciate them, or actually see the flowers that are visible from above. Those on the opposite sidewalk can see them, but only at a great distance across all those lanes of El Camino Real.

Those in cars on the road see less of them than pedestrians. Even those who happen to look up while riding past in convertibles with the tops down will see only the undersides, and only at significant speed. These potted plants would be in the way of the sidewalks if they were lowered to be more visible. No matter where they are, they are not proportionate to the broad road.

Maintenance of the flowers in these many hanging pots was quite a bit of work. The annual flowers needed to be replaced a few times a year, or more if ruined by the weather. Without automated irrigation, someone needed to manually water them, which left puddles on the sidewalks that were more noticeable than the highly hung pots above.

As if all these hanging pots were not already tacky enough, the flowers within were eventually replaced with . . . fake flowers, as seen in the picture below.

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Just when it could not get any tackier; they are fake!

23 thoughts on “Horridculture – Going To Pot

    1. The plastic flowers were not the worst of it. In a way, I actually do not mind the plastic flowers. They require less resources, and no one notices that they are plastic anyway. What bothers me is that this municipality has such limited resources, but somehow wasted part of those resources on this. There were actually large potted plants on the sidewalks a few years ago, but they got stolen or broken. They looked prettier up close, but were not proportionate to the big roadway.

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  1. Haha, I agree ! I tried a hanging basket last year, it dried and never looked nice. Other people know how to make them look wonderful though. But that’s too much faffing for me and too much worrying about potential suffering of plants put in very unnatural and uncomfortable conditions.

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    1. I would like a few nice hanging pots here just because there is so much of nothing between here and the trees in the distance. The ground is paved downstairs, and there is a big eave above. I do like them in the right situation. The problems with these in the pictures is that they are in such a bad situation, where no one can appreciate them. We really should be taking care of the street trees instead.

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  2. I agree that plastic flowers don’t make the cut. I have a neighbor that lived in another country, but kept her house and had the same plastic flowers in her pots for years. And when she came back, she still kept the plastic ones.

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    1. These plastic flower are not as bad as they look in the picture, just because they are too high up for anyone to notice that they are plastic. At least they do not need as much work. The crew that maintains them can tend to more important tasks.

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  3. leave it to the hortiholier-than-thou to hold their noses while the rest of us find our own paths… in a lot of situations, to a lot of earnest, decent, even college-educated people (even well-published horticulture journalists), artificial plants… make sense. like it. or. not.

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      1. yep, i agree, sir tony! i’m just one of those folks who see both good and bad in everything (the glass is BOTH half empty and half full – and isn’t it a marvelous vessel!), and i tend to challenge blanket statements (it’s a slippery slope to having someone tell me i’m stupid for which way i hang my toilet paper rolls)…
        celebrate diversity!
        cheers, everyone!

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  4. Oh, dear!!

    In some walking-touristy towns — in the Northwest, and Victoria BC — I have enjoyed hanging baskets of (real, glorious) flowers. There they seemed appropriately placed, where thousands would see them, low enough for them to be quite visible. And the city maintains them, at least for the tourist season. These sightings were many years ago… I wonder if they are still a going thing.

    But the neighborhood you picture is the opposite of that.

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    1. There are a few of these same hanging baskets downtown that still contain real flowers, and they are quite nice. They are proportionate to the narrower streets, and hang low over trash cans (where they are not in anyone’s way). They just do not have the same effect out on El Camino Real!

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    1. Well, I feel the same about “plastic” siding on houses and plastic “picket fences!” I can just see from the street they are plastic! I’d rather have some wear and tear and chips and peeling paint than a plastic fence! I understand the desire for no maintenance, but that look just isn’t for me.
      The city near me has a narrow main street, and they hang the most beautiful baskets down its entire length on both sides of the street. Lots of them.

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      1. They certainly have their place. These same hanging baskets (in the pictures here) work splendidly in the narrower streets downtown, where they are hung low enough to be appreciated, planted with real annuals, and are proportionate to the streets. One of the merchants on El Camino Real got frustrated with the silly hanging baskets there (as seen here) in front of his business, so, without telling anyone, lowered them, and planted them with small but nicely cascading Sedums and seasonal annuals for a bit of color. He waters them regularly and keeps them looking sharp. They still look silly from across the road (if one bothers to look), but they are quite pretty from the front of his shop.

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      2. Yes, but such laws can lead to others that get ridiculous. In my former neighborhood, it is illegal to hang laundry out where it can be seen from the outside. I had no problem with that, until a neighbor complained that he could see it from the upstairs windows of his monster house.

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