I've Been Thinking: Frugality inspires experimentation with artificial flowers

Gerbera daisies provide a temptation too strong to overcome

Although a little late this year, it’s finally gardening time. One of my favorite things to do is get my iPhone, plug in my earphones and listen to books on tape while working in the yard. And believe it or not, I really enjoy weeding. I must admit, according to my family, I am a very frugal person, so I try not to spend too much money buying the beauty plants and flowers being sold everywhere.

However, I have a hard time resisting opening my wallet to buy the awesome floral arrangements and perennials being marketed because most of the folks living in the Elburn area are buying them and doing an incredible job using them to landscape their properties. I feel obligated to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak.

My favorite perennial flower for many years has been the daylily. In Michigan, where I used to live, I had over a hundred varieties. Sadly, I couldn’t bring many of them with us when my husband and I made the move back to Illinois. But I did bring back lots of flowers that had no trouble making the move.

They didn’t need to be in pots filled with dirt for the trip. They didn’t need to be watered and they didn’t mind being squeezed into cardboard boxes with no light. Have you guessed what kind of flowers made the trip? They were artificial flowers. I had no idea what I was going to do with them or honestly how I had accumulated the large number of artificial flowers I possessed.

Once in Elburn, the daylilies I did bring were planted. The artificial flowers remained in their boxes. As there was time to take a good look around the area I lived in, I realized I needed more flowers in my yard to keep up with the Joneses once again. Forcing myself to open my wallet, I bought some flowers. Unfortunately, there were still places around the house that looked barren.

What to do? I then remembered the flowers stored in cardboard boxes. Could I use them outside? Would people notice that they weren’t real? If so, I wondered what they would think.

Once I thought about the declining contents of my wallet, I decided to give my artificial flowers a try, but to start out small. There was a shed for gardening tools and supplies on our property and on one outside wall was a planter. No one would be going close to this area just to look at flowers I was sure, so the shed’s planter became their home.

Next I decided to put some of my artificial flowers in a large, lovely planter that the home's previous owner had left by the back door. Once the flowers were in place, they looked so nice that I bravely filled another large planter with flowers and put it in front of the house by the garage.  Finally I decided to fill a hanging pot with more of these beauties.
While placing these lovely fakes, I decided to buy my favorite annuals, gerbera daisies.

These I planted where everyone could see them and I could see them from various windows. My wallet opened wide for these, and I actually didn’t care, but guess what? Some animal has bitten off most of the blooms on all of these lovely plants. I guess I should stick with fakes. It’s great not to have to worry about watering my plants, no animal will destroy them, and they will be back for years to come without any additional expense.

But still …

Carol Kloskowski is a resident of Elburn. Feedback on this column can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.