A Humorous Approach to All-Season Gardening

            When I wrote the book over thirty years ago, it was intended simply as a light-hearted, fun look at gardening. The new edition is still that but now there is a serious undertone. I did not realize the true importance of plastic gardening until a newspaper columnist, Denise Kusel, wrote in "The Santa Fe New Mexican" that I was helping conserve water by promoting plastic gardening not just as a novelty but a necessity.
            Why “new and improved?” Times have changed and there are new techniques, new products and new suggestions for your very own personal approach to “garden loveliness.” Finally, if “new and improved” works for cereal, headache pills and lounge chairs--why not for Ma Frump also?
            Although I have continued to use the term “plastic” in the book, gardeners now have access to metal flowers and other garden helps which will be discussed in the following pages. It is the spirit of artificiality that counts!
      --Ma Frump (occasionally known as “Marcia Muth”)
      Why Plastic Gardening?
            I have often been asked, “Why plastic gardening?” This is a question frequently asked my by friends, acquaintances and even strangers! I have become accustomed not only to the question, but to the exclamations and expressions of wonderment when my garden is viewed. Just the other day a friend asked, “How can you do it?”
            It would be easy to remain modest about my gardening methods, but friends have prevailed upon me to share my gardening concepts with the world at large. I can only hope that you, my readers, will get as much pleasure and happiness from your plastic garden as I get from mine. This is why I have used the word “cultural” in connection with this kind of gardening, for it is a cultural experience as well as a way of beautifying the world around you.
            Plastic gardening is the gardening of the future right now! It has many advantages and the most important is that it is ecologically sound! No need to wonder any more how you can do your bit for the troubled earth! No, now you can plant your plastic garden and hold your head up in any ecology group. Just think of it--plastic gardens do not have to be watered. They do not take valuable nutriments from the soil. They never require any applications of sprays or dangerous insecticide powders. Plastic gardens are the answer to the ecologist’s nightmare and the gardener’s dream of eternal perfection.
            There are other advantages to plastic gardening. Plastic flowers and plants do not rot. Their leaves never wilt and drop off just before your big garden party. Plastic plants are not attacked by the blight or by suspicious looking bugs. Other pests are also put off by plastic plants. Rabbits have been observed in a test garden to absolutely ignore plastic plants and go immediately to a natural plant and eat it down to the ground. Large dogs and cats also ignore plastic plants as being of little interest to them, but puppies, I regret to say, have a tendency to play with both plastic and natural flowers and plants. However, you can, as I have done, teach your puppy the difference between your plastic flowers and your neighbor’s natural garden. In time, and with patience on your part, your puppy can learn to be as discriminating as you are about plants.
            There is also sound medical practice in having a plastic garden. Because there is no irritating pollen, there is also no problem with allergies. One friend who could never go out without carrying a large box of Kleenex because of her various allergies to plants now spends many happy hours in her plastic garden.
            Granted there is an initial outlay, but there is where it stops! You do not have to buy bags of fertilizer which are both expensive and prone to burst in the back of the trunk, making a mess. You do not have to buy sprays, plant foods or dangerous poisons. The latter has other disadvantages, for how will you explain the bottle or jar of poison if a murder takes place in the vicinity? You may claim you bought it for the mildew on your geraniums or the ‘black spot’ on your roses, but can you prove it? Don’t risk the embarrassment of a trip to the local police station. Stick with plastic gardening and you will never have any of those horrid bottles with skull and crossbone labels in your gardening shed or garage.
            You will not need to purchase a lot of expensive and various tools, either. As you will see in my section on Garden Tools and Other Equipment, only a minimum of tools is needed for successful plastic gardening. The money you will save on a lawn mower (if you plant plastic grass) will pay for a vacation so you can visit other gardens and look with enjoyment, knowing that you have none of the work to do.
            Yes, plastic gardening is the answer to your gardening problems, and it has this final advantage: It takes up much less of your time. There is no pruning, no trimming, no watering, no cutting--only enjoyment. You can spend as much or as little time as you wish. I know some devotees of plastic gardening who put in their gardens at the beginning of the season (the spring) and never look at them again. But, there are others, and I am one of them, who spend a little time each day relaxing among the plastic flowers and shrubs.
            Plastic gardening is for the modern individual!