The other day my friend mentioned something she called felt pockets and how much she wanted some for her patio. I did a net search and wound up finding exactly what she was describing. I looked long and hard at their website, their videos, their environmental credentials and finally their prices.
Well I say good for them, but not for me. I am sure they deliver everything they promise and they should at those prices. The little casitas we admired in Mexico, no matter how impoverished, had beautiful plants hanging on their walls and adorning their porches. Donkey tail succulents dripped down from old teacups, gallon-size tomato cans burst forth with intensely coloured Begonias, old wash tubs burgeoned with Crocosmia. What is wrong with your basic terracotta pot? It has integrity, function and beauty in its simplicity. It was good enough for the ancient Greeks and Romans from whom classical design is derived. We just salvaged an old wooden crate from our neighbour’s trash pile. It will soon have our Jicama/Yam Bean plants climbing up an old trellis placed behind it. Currently I am eyeing a set of wooden stairs someone has torn out and left on the side of the road for trash pick-up. Why? I want to prop them up against a wall for sending potted herbs and flowers marching their way up to the sky. This idea was inspired by a plant-covered, stair-stepped lightwell in the house of the architect José de Yturbe. Himself, always pragmatic, is arguing that we have no way to haul it back to the house. I am not sure if that is a tactful way of saying no or a practical observation.
Kudos to the felt bag people for using recycled plastic bottles, reforming them and selling them for a nice price. But we will actually use our gathered plastic bottles in their original form to create our drip irrigation system and whirling bird scarers. We have even offered to pay so much for every 20 bottles given, but the people who have responded to our flyers have not wanted payment.
Ingenuity is something I admire in other cultures. Because those of us with computers surfing the net are rich in the global sense it may be something we have set aside in favour of convenience. If so we are poorer for it. In fact that ingenuity is what makes those other people richer than we are as they still possess the ability to turn raw resources into useable things. Actually it is what we pay for in the form of native art. Examples are the childrens’ toys made out of tin cans, jewellery made from bottle caps, or carved masks decorated with cowrie shells and feathers. Why can’t we stop pushing buttons, halt our spending, look at things we have discarded and re-form them into something new and desirable? All it takes is asking ourselves to create our own environment instead of looking to others for their idea of what we should own.
I guess I am not a person to surf the wave of trendiness. I’ll just go slip off my Birkenstocks and settle into bed with Jean Giono.