Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on June 26, 2000. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Pink Flamingoes Add Unique Yard Touches
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Most people consider plastic birds in a yard either an unpleasant spectacle or a spectacularly creative display.
On a trip to the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire, I had the opportunity to view a spectacular sight of thousands of pink flamingoes making their late afternoon trek to South America. After waiting and double-checking my camera equipment, I finally saw a pink-looking, low cloud moving on the distant horizon. As it came toward me I got fidgety knowing that this might be my only chance to capture it on film. It was a spectacle I'll never forget.
Pink flamingoes make a spectacle of themselves yearly in places like Brookhaven, Miss. You awake one morning thinking all is well, you walk out to get the newspaper, and there they are in your yard, a dozen pink plastic flamingoes.
They were put there because some fund-raising organization deemed them to be ugly and an embarrassment. If you want to get rid of them you have to pay to a worthy cause and perhaps have your best friend blighted with the birds the next night. This is a great fund-raiser. Some of the residents show their moxy. They pay to the cause, but make wonderful use of the birds as temporary yard art. Others feel the shame and can't wait to be rid of them.
Do plastic pink flamingoes or brass ones for that matter have a place in the garden? You bet they do! The key is to make them enhance the garden.
We have all seen yard art that has to make neighbors either want to put their house up for sale, or at least see if there is an ordinance or neighborhood association code that would prevent such artistic endeavors. There is some yard art that I just can't handle, but I'll not tell you or anyone else what it is.
A garden object can delight visitors by catching them off guard. Maybe it is a stone bunny rabbit hidden among the flowers. Perhaps a frog tucked under a shrub.
Garden art that appears to be hot right now are the iron bugs or insects that are on four-foot poles and stuck in the flowerbed. I have seen butterflies, lady bugs, dragonflies, scorpions, grasshoppers and more in this fashion.
People have been standing in line waiting to buy metallic suns that have faces on them. These are hung on a wall or fence and really look neat. Ask yourself if you have begun to take gardening too seriously. I am not talking about your passion for flowers and such, but are you still enjoying it. Has gardening gotten stressful? If you answer yes or maybe, then you might be in need of yard art.
The key to using garden art is to use it like any other focal point. Don't overdo it and make it enhance the area of the landscape where it is being used. Lighten up and show the world you are having fun again in the yard.
I am proud to say I did not choke that day on Bonaire. I nailed it. I got pictures on video and print. I've lost them along the way, but those pink flamingoes linger in my mind, and especially when I see plastic ones used right.