Saturday, April 29, 2006

Garden Lighting

By Christina VanGinkel

I received a flyer in the mail from a home and garden store that is located in our community. It was filled with sale items of course, and a teaser for using their credit card with no payment and no interest for twelve months. I have used that deal before myself, and if you can pay for the items you buy within the twelve months, it is a good deal, but be wary if you cannot, because all of the interest is tacked on if you owe even a dollar at the end of the twelve-month timeframe. I flipped through the tips and recommendations part of the flyer with some interest, but not really expecting to read anything that was of great interest, as it was all basic information. I did read with interest one section that had ten projects with some tips and information on how to carry them out, most of them to help upgrade and beautify the outside of one's home.

Two of the ten projects were related more to the interior of a home, than the exterior, with one all about flooring, and one on creating a sunroom. Several were common sense ones, such as choosing an entry door with security and durability in mind. One project caught my attention though, that some might think common sense, but that I can honestly say I never really gave much thought to before reading about it in the booklet, and that was adding lighting to a garden for viewing at night. I nearly missed it though, as it was just a tiny paragraph beneath a picture at the bottom of a page. I looked in the flyer for some further information or insight on the subject but other than the notation under the snapshot, I found nothing else. That was ok though, because it was quite self-explanatory, and it contained all the information I needed to give the idea thought about how it might work in my own gardens.

I wondered how it was that something so simple, like rimming a gardens edge with ground lights to show off the colors of the garden in the evening, had not been something that I had thought of myself. I am a fan of walkway lighting, so that one can stroll through a garden or down a path in the evening, yet had never once given any thought to lighting the flowerbeds or landscaping itself.

Not only would it be nice to have the garden viewable in the evening, especially during the height of summer when everything is in full bloom, as seeing everything in its different form as the buds are closed for the night, would be exhilarating all on its own, but the safety of the lighting would also be a secondary convenience.

I cannot tell you how many times I have walked down a path and thought I caught a whiff of a skunk, or heard a rustle of some other night creature, only to step a little quicker on my way back down a path. If I had had, lighting scattered throughout the garden beds, this would not show up everything, but it would some, and it might even be a bit of a deterrent to some of the native nightlife around the house and gardens. I know that if I had lighting such as this several years ago, when my daughter was surprised by a black bear as it rested beneath a tree just off the trail leading to our front door, she would have been thrilled!

Sometimes, tips or suggestions on how to fix this, or change that, are discovered in some very unusual places, not that a flyer about home and garden products is unusual, but that it was a sale flyer, I nearly just tossed it and never even gave it a glance. Reading books, websites, sale flyers even, can all reward you with ideas on how to change, arrange, and spruce up your home and garden. Being open to these ideas is as important as discovering them. I for one cannot imagine I never thought about putting lighting in the flowerbeds themselves, yet when I think about it, I know I have seen lighting on a grand scale in many public gardens. I just never gave it the time of day to think that it would work in my own smaller gardens.

Education from others and being open and receptive to suggestions is a wonderful way to learn many things. The next time you find yourself flipping though a flyer, article, or even a book or magazine, take the time to read some of the more obscure information. You might just discover a gem in much the same way as I did.

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