My flatmate came back from the corner shop the other week with some bad news to impart. The overgrown but romantic planting – lots of climbers and ivy – outside our local French restaurant was being ripped out. Today he came back to report that some bespoke willow fencing was being put up in its place. It’s being installed by a well-known willow craftsman, Jay Davey, and he’s clearly done a great job. But is this rustic chic look right for a smart London street? I think I preferred the plants.
I got lost in Victoria a few years ago and stumbled across this tiny street of slightly dilapidated terraced houses. I remember admiring this sculpture then and was pleased to see it’s still there, some daffs peeping up at its base. It’s called Beauty through Adversity and was made by a chap called Tony Laing. I’ve had a quick Google and can’t find out anything about him. The building is, I think, a hostel.
From a distance these box balls look real, but get a bit closer and there’s something odd about them. They’re a bit too round, and a bit too monotone, a bit too dark. And totally inert.
Because they’re plastic.
I honestly can’t understand why anyone uses them. They take from the environment and give absolutely nothing back. And yet I’m seeing more and more of them.
Real box balls aren’t high maintenance – I’m the worst pot waterer in the world and I’ve never managed to kill one. And they don’t need clipping that much (I like mine a bit fluffy around the edges). They’re not cheap, but then nor are the fake versions – they cost about the same.
A fake box ball won’t grow, absorb CO2, give back O2, or increase biodiversity, or sport lovely fresh green shoots in spring. My heart sinks every time I see one.