Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tacky Lawn Art, But Oh So Cool


Pink plastic flamingos are one of the most famous lawn ornaments in the United States along with the garden gnome. It was designed in 1957 by a young engineer, Don Featherstone, who worked for Union Products.  Plastic pink flamingos have become an icon of pop culture ever since.  
These fake birds are not natives of Florida but of Leominster, Massachusetts, which bills itself as the Plastics Capital of the World.  After sculptor Don Featherstone was hired by the plastics company Union Products, one of his first assignments was to sculpt a pink flamingo. Since there were no live models, he unearthed a National Geographic photo spread. It took about two weeks to model both halves of the bird, brought into the third dimension by then-revolutionary injection-mold technology. It won him the Nobel Prize for Art in 1996. 

In 1984 Miami Vice kicked up the sales of pink plastic flamingos into full throttle. These birds were featured in the opening sequence of the show with shots around Miami. For the first time ever Union Plastics now sold more flamingos than they did ducks. Today pink plastic flamingos are sold for just about every purpose; wedding, birthdays, housewarming gifts and even replacements for reindeer at Christmas time. 

Many imitation products have found their way onto front lawns and store shelves since those first official pink flamingos were made by Union products.  But good to know that authentic flamingos always have Don Featherstone's signature under the tails. Each has a yellow beak with a black tip and they are only sold in pairs with one standing upright and the other with its head low to the ground, "feeding".

The appearance of these birds has also spawned a lawn greeting industry where flocks of pink flamingos have been installed on a victim's lawn in the dark of night. But sadly, pink plastic flamingos have also become a prime target of pranksters. Many are stolen off lawns every year while others have been kidnapped and held for ransom.   
Which now brings me to the photo below. My flamingo pair were a recent birthday gift from the same friend who some 10 years ago gave me my first pair. 
Over the past five years our homeowner association has issued by letter to me a variety of homeowner association infractions requesting the removal of  the following
  • a five foot scarecrow in the back garden ( he was just protecting my plants from deer invasion)
  • a hanging basket that was hung too close to the drainpipe 
  • too many flower pots out in front of house (only 4 are allowed and I had 5) 
  • leaving out what they termed an unsightly bright colored green watering can (its purpose was only for my neighbor's ease to water when I am gone) 
Other infractions have included leaving garage door open for long periods of time (more than an hour), removing wood grids from windows (I wanted more light). And even Bella got her own letter regarding the pee marks left behind in grass after the winter. 
So, I suppose the association will not look too kindly on this newest addition in the garden. But know that it is in my best interests to remove the pair to an up north location. If after reading this blog you feel a need to be flocked and add pink plastic flamingos to your yard here are some useful links 

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