Lawn Art

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Lawn art is abundant here in the Midwest. Take for example this lovely toilet garden I spotted next to someone’s mailbox. It takes on a whole different meaning of potted plant, and I’m sure the postman is sure to enjoy a whiff of sweet aroma as he deposits the letters and bills into the mailbox. Even though this picture was taken in autumn, it’s certain that spring and summer flowers beautified the white porcelain throne a few months prior. I would venture to make a few suggestions for next year’s toilet flower seating. Perhaps Aster, Tulips, Sweet Pea, Peony, or Poppy.

On our Sunday drives through the farmland we discover all kinds of lawn art adorning front yards. Take for example a white metal bed, turned at a gentle angle so all who drive by can admire the intricate ironwork and lovely array of colorful flowers. I can hear Sven and Ingrid now, “Sven, now that Solveig has moved out, vhat shall we do vit her bed?” “Vell, vhy don’t we put it in the front yard, doncha know, Ingrid.” “That’s a vonderful idea, Sven. I can plant Daisy’s in it.” And that’s how the white iron bed ended up in Sven and Ingrid’s front yard.

A house recently was built not too far from us. I had to walk by several times to fully realize what was sitting on their lawn. They created a lovely oval bedding area for flowers; however, there was a smattering of items that took me a few walk bys to figure out just what all was in there. I think it would have been too suspicious had I started taking pictures or staring like a hungry vagrant. First of all there is a mirror. Yes, a mirror sitting on a log table, about the size of a chest of drawers. Maybe it is a chest of drawers. What better place to put an old chest of drawers than in the front yard. It appears that the log table is actually a planter, because flowers are protruding from the top – then the mirror. I’m not understanding this. Is it a Norwegian custom to place a mirror in your front yard? Is it kind of like burying a St. Joseph statue when you want to sell your home? Perhaps the mirror is for the deer who want to admire themselves before they go on a feeding frenzy with the Impatiens. The other items in the “flowerbed” are a rusted pitchfork, a rusted metal wagon wheel, and a small rusted cart. Perhaps they are trying to infuse more iron into the soil.

And yes, deer love Impatiens. As soon as the last crackle of ice pushes away from shore, the home owners run to Wal-Mart, K-Mart, nursery’s, and Menard’s to buy colorful flowers for their planters, pots, gardens, and shepherd’s hooks. A favorite are red or pink Impatiens. One morning last summer I walked out my front door and said to myself, What happened to all my Impatiens? All the blossoms were gone and there was nothing left but the stems. Then I looked around the neighborhood and noticed everyone’s Impatiens were chewed down to the first leaf. A hungry momma deer obviously was showing her fawn around the community as they feasted on the little round flowers. Everybody’s Impatiens disappeared overnight. The caravan of cars headed out to Wal-Mart that afternoon.

Perhaps I should take up this lawn art tradition. My house is filled with items I don’t really have a use for anymore. The front yard is beckoning. The fishing net has a hole it in – it would make a perfect trellis for a climbing vine. I have a lamp without a shade – a unique bird feeder. My cooler’s lid doesn’t close anymore – a receptacle for Geraniums. The possibilities are endless. I don’t think our HOA would mind. After all, it’s art – on the lawn. (Get up, Art, it’s time for dinner.)