Out on the Streets: Can Plastic Be Fantastic?
Ever since I started my public planting series this year, I've been waiting for the right moment to ask Can plastic be fantastic? For years my daily commute ended at Bristol Temple Meads station where the most elaborate hanging baskets were to be found. As they were in the underpass section - the main thoroughfare to various train platforms - they were made from plastic as no self-respecting brightly coloured real plants would be able to survive the low light levels. However, this year they've disappeared. I suspect they've been hijacked by Kemble station - Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen said he'd been fooled by some there on How Britain Got the Gardening Bug recently, until they were taken down for dusting.
So I shelved my planned post - though I was seriously tempted to make the 40 mile round trip to Kemble for you dear reader. Now I don't have to as I found just the thing on a very wet afternoon in Norwich recently. There's a great shopping area where one of the main focal points is the marvellous Royal Arcade. This place is a celebration of Art Nouveau dating from 1899 and the tiling murals are breathtaking. As I admired the designs, I realised that the flower displays above most of the shops were a most convincing plastic. You can see from their position that real flowers would be quite difficult to look after. I still can't make my mind up whether the flowers add anything as they hide quite a bit of the tiling when viewed at ground level. However, the pictured shop did have some real box topiary balls either side of the door in large planters. One of them was dead and actually looked much worse than the plastic flowers.
What do you think - is there a place or use for fake 'planting' in our public displays? Or should things be left unadorned in locations where real plants can't be used, particularly if the place is already as ornate as the one I found?
Don't forget there's still time for you to take part in this month's Out on the Streets - I'm keeping it open until early July for those of you who've said you need a little extra time to take your photos. Once you've got them and made your post, do come back over here and take the link from the top right sidebar, where you can leave us the link to your post in the comments.