Blazing crimson, romantic heliotrope, passionate lavender, no matter what seductive label you bless them with, no matter how realistic they appear, silk flowers are only lifeless replicas of the real thing that might grow in your garden, or in a nursery. Paper, plastic, silk imitations, have no scent, they require no water, and while they don’ t wilt, you need to dust them on occasion. These imitations must be changed with the seasons, other wise they stand out in a way that only Poinsettia would in July.
I’m an old-fashioned girl with definite likes and dislikes. I want a stick house (one that was built with real wood) to a prefab. Overstuffed couches and oak end tables rather than ultra modern glass and chrome. Wooden park benches as opposed to molded plastic. I even wax nostalgic regarding rattan seats on the old BMT subway line that ended at Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn. How uncomfortable and sterile looking those awful plastic replacements are.
Admittedly, I have silk flowers in my home. Displays of hardy greens sway in hanging baskets. One in the living room and one out in the screen room. I am not particularly proud of this lapse of taste, either its the gypsy in my soul or they both serve a purpose. I don’t have to water them, pinch them back, or ever feed them. By not having to water them, since they are over my head, I don’t get water dripping back down my arm off my elbow or into my armpit. If its ever happened to you, you know it is the most unpleasant, in fact, creepy feeling. My baskets of green never drop leaves or drip water onto the carpeting.
You can also put one of these vibrant displays in any dark corner. The leaves won’t wither from lack of sunlight. You don’t need to have a conversation with fake plants, they will continue to reward you with a rich green or variegated leaves until the sun fades them, without daily encouragement. Sometimes a burst of color in an unexpected area of your home can change the mood of the room. All that being said, and despite the fact that I do create and display silk floral arrangements, I really don’t care for them. Especially during the Spring and Summer when I have the pleasure of real flowers.
The other day, in a rare show of affection, my husband Jim surprised me with two large sprigs of red, plastic and silk azaleas. They were eye-catching but obviously too fake to stand alone in a vase. Ok, I hated them! But when someone gives you something with such good intentions, there is nothing else you can do; say thank you and accept them graciously. Once that is done you need to figure out where to put them until it was time to change for the season.
(Back track) For Christmas one of the gifts I received from my daughter, Crissy, was an Amaryllis bulb planted in a pot. As they do, the bulb made tall, sturdy fronds, however the flower never appeared. I was disappointed because I love Amaryllis. I very much enjoy watching them grow. They gain about four inches a day. It really is amazing. While the fronds were growing I put the bulb in its cardboard pot into a big, decorative, clay flower-pot. When the fronds wilted, I snipped them and put the pot away.
(Back to the Present) What to do with the two Azalea silks? Ever the make lemonade out of lemons girl, I retrieved the pot – stuck the plastic stalks into the dirt with the dead bulb still in it, wrinkled up a brown paper bag to resemble soil, arranged the flowers and sat it on the hearth. Honestly, it didn’t look half bad. In fact, once you got over the silks in dirt aspect they were very pretty.
Two weeks later I am staring at my silk azaleas and I notice two light green stalks in the center, towering over the flowers. This was over the top. I asked Jim what he had bought now to stick into the silks. Naturally, he denied going near them. When I attempted to remove them I was amazed to discover they were alive, alive!! I realized they were growing fronds. My silk flowers had grown their own stalks. Apparently, the Amaryllis bulb suddenly and without light or water began growing again and at its four inch a day rate, through the brown paper bag and around the bright red flower petals.
What else could I do? I now water my artificial flowers!