Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Perfect Garden Swing

By Christina VanGinkel

We have had several garden swings through the years. We have enjoyed each one as much as anyone could enjoy a swing. We have sat on them early in the morning enjoying a cup or two of coffee or tea. We have piled pillows on them and snuggled in to read chapter after chapter of the newest best seller. We have watched the birds from their comfortable seating, enjoyed a snack, and even had some very deep conversations and some silly ones too. We have even pulled into the yard to find our son sound asleep on the one that we had up through last year, only to have him come wide awake when we walked into the yard and suddenly exclaim his rabbit was gone. He had been letting the rabbit eat the grass beneath the swing, fallen asleep, and the rabbit had of course wandered off. Several days later, he was back safe and sound, and an important lesson had been learned (you have to stay awake when watching those smaller then yourself!).

Each swing had been chosen with care, but the last swing, a canopied, cushioned affair, was perfect in every sense. It was long enough even for my husband and youngest son, each almost six feet tall, to take a nap on, and the cushion was comfortable enough that even after three years, it was still full. What it was not anymore though, was waterproof. At one time, after a rain, all one had to do was take a cloth and wipe the wet off, as it never seeped into the cushion. The cushion had become so worn towards the end of last year though, it was no longer even remotely waterproof, and after a rain, it would take hours for it to dry. In addition, the canopy had become sop worn, that at the end of last season, when a strong wind came up, it had actually torn right through.

My husband and I had taken the canopy off, and used the swing the remainder of the fall months, but hoped that once spring arrived, we would be able to find a replacement canopy and cushion. So far, we have been as unsuccessful as could be. We have patiently watched each local store put out their stock of garden furniture, patio sets, and swings, and hoped we would be able to find what we were looking for. Not only have we not, we have not even been able to find a complete swing that is even close to the quality of the one that we had for the precious three years. They are either much shorter, or they are designed with a table in the middle of the seat, making it more like two chairs instead of one long settee. Another swing we came across that was long enough, had such a thin cushion on it that it reminded me of the sort of seating you would offer a guest you hoped would not stay long. Give them a seat so uncomfortable, that hopefully they would make their excuses and leave as quickly as they come! Besides the cushion being paper thin, it also did not look waterproof at all and nowhere in the documentation did it say it was treated with any sort of waterproof coating. You might assume that it would be, as it was for outside, but I have learned through the years never to assume anything. To make matters worse, the canopy on it did not adjust. If the sun was at a bad angle, I guess you would have to either abandon sitting on it, or else move the whole swing.

We have still not found a replacement, but have been told by employees at two different stores that they hope to get more swings in soon, that we are not the only ones that have commented on the poor design of what they currently have available. This just goes to show you that we are not the only people who have learned to enjoy a comfortable swing! I have also begun searching the Internet, but have had no luck on that account either. I did find a lovely wooden swing, which would look charming in the back of our garden where we want to place a smaller seating arrangement to sit with our grandson after time spent exploring the garden, so our search has not been completely fruitless.

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