Thursday, May 12, 2011

More Bend Strangeness: Charred Stumps as Garden Decor

A fine specimen of charred-tree-stump garden decor
This post isn't about Bend's suckiness per se, but about a strange phenomenon I've wanted to comment on for some time: charred tree stumps as garden ornaments.

People in various parts of America use some pretty weird shit as garden decor -- plaster gnomes, old tires painted white, wooden figurines of fat ladies bending over and presenting their asses to the passerby -- but Bend is the only place where I've seen charred tree stumps employed for that purpose.

When I first saw these charred stumps on people's property I assumed they were simply left over from some long-ago forest fire. But it's not so: They have been brought in deliberately and positioned in lawns and flower beds for decorative purposes.

Why Bendians think a charred tree stump adds to the beauty of their domestic landscape is a mystery. Maybe the explanation is that charred tree stumps, along with rocks, bark dust and juniper bushes, are among the few garden items that can tolerate the Bend climate.

This is a topic that requires further research, and possibly another post.


Jack Elliott said...

Our north terrace (front lawn) sports a pair of lawn flamingos in green and yellow Ducks colors, as well as a few plaster or plastic garden gnomes and other small people. These tickle Mrs Elliott. But our decorations are probably our neighbor's eyesores. I'll remove them when the guy across the street removes the trash from his driveway.

One thing I see plenty of in the PNW that I can't quite wrap my head around are hunks of wood crudely hacked up with chainsaws to vaguely resemble beavers or bears or other woodland critters.

I can certainly understand why a fellow my be tempted to fire up the Husqvarna and go at that tree stump out front, especially after a six pack of Hamm's or Schlitz. But to voluntarily shop for one to haul home and deliberately place it out front? That's a real stumper.

Hey, when I was up at Clatskanie last month I noticed that someone mounted a mailbox atop a 20-foot pole with "Air Mail" painted on its side. Now THAT'S a funny joke. Or it was in 1930, when air mail was new and cost extra. Sending a telegram to Siam probably cost a pretty penny, too.

Anonymous said...

"are among the few garden items that can tolerate the Bend climate."

That's -exactly- why! It's already DEAD. You can't kill it and it just has to 'sit' there, looking 'pretty'? Lol

I ran across a screening copy of "Stoned" ( Brian Jones' Story ) and much of it was filmed at Cotchford Farm ( A.A Milne's former residence ) Their climate sucks at least as bad as ours? Yet the grounds were beautiful! Absolutely stunning.

So is it the 'climate', lack of artistic/gardening skills or... wait for it... Laziness!

They framed numerous overhead shots ( that weren't in theatrical release ) and there's def. method to those Englishmen's madness. All the rows and foliage act as windbreaks. Privacy abounds. Not here. We want to make sure everyone can see the HOUSE! From the highway! ( How dumb is that? )

H. Bruce Miller said...

For some reason that is and always will remain a mystery to me, Google dispatched all comments on this post to electronic oblivion. If you want to write them again I will gladly post them. Sorry for the inconvenience.