White chairs near bird bath with dog fence and gate

Those Hoses, Those Chairs!

I don’t know if anyone has noticed this, but many of my garden photos include parts of green hoses or white chairs. Like the chairs in the featured image. They’re cheap plastic items we bought 30 years ago. Since then, one has perished, but I inherited another, fancier one from my mom.

Chairs are useful in the garden, for setting down things like tools, watering cans, and balls of string. There’s less chance of those items getting lost if they’re on a chair. And occasionally, the gardener sits on one to rest for a few minutes, until the sight of a weed or leaning plant demands action.

Back garden, spring, bird bath, ugly white chairs

The chairs, although cheap, are adequate for the purposes described. But they become a problem when I take photos of the garden. Not in close-ups of individual plants, but in shots of larger areas, there is often the suspicion of an incongruous white object, which turns out to be a chair leg. White is an uncompromising colour that jumps out from surrounding shades. It contrasts splendidly with green.

In this case, the late Zeke Cat was the star of the show.

Then there are the hoses. Two of them connect rain barrels to the pond, so overflow rainwater can help to top it up, rather than soaking into the ground near the barrels. The hoses run alongside two paths, and want to be in as many pictures as possible.

Part of back garden path showing part of green hose, foliage of Geranium sanguineum and lamb's lettuce in bloom
I took this picture because of the contrast between the dark green foliage of Geranium sanguineum and the light green and white of blooming lamb’s lettuce. But there’s the artificial green of the hose adding its rather incongruous note.

Hoses used to be uniformly this shade of green that is rare or nonexistent in nature. I guess the idea was they would blend in among the greens of the garden. They don’t. Recently, hose makers seem to have realized that and now colour their products so as to be visible. Lime green, blue, turquoise, and even purple hoses are available. Maybe too many of the green ones were blamed for causing people to trip, or were mangled by lawnmowers whose operators failed to see them.

The path behind the pond, with hose.

Some of you may be wondering why I don’t crop out the chair legs from the photos, or fiddle with filters to disguise the hoses. The truth is, I’m too lazy to bother, and even if a hose’s colour were modified, the shape is pretty uncompromising. My garden photo sessions are unplanned. I see something beautiful or interesting and run inside to grab the camera. If I see a piece of chair anatomy edging into the scene, or a hose intruding itself, I reposition myself so as to eliminate the offending item from the field of view. But that isn’t always possible. Later, when I’m reviewing photos for use in blog posts, I avoid the ones with the worst intrusions.

Pacific Coast Iris, white
This Pacific Coast Iris is blooming just like this right now (photo from 2021). And not a hose nor a chair in sight!

38 comments

  1. I think you are doing perfect. Moreso when we are in nature, growing while growing natural beings, some colours not so natural be kept to make it imperfectly perfect, sometimes. Late Zeke looks in command. Thanks for sharing Audrey.

    Narayan

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  2. Now I know why I am always losing tools, I should have put them on the chair. I just discovered a fossilised pair of secateurs in my home made compost.

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    1. I agree with Priscilla. An engaging read. And I don’t mind hoses or chair legs. It just adds realness to the beautiful garden photos. Also, thanks for the link to lambs lettuce. Very interesting. Do you ever eat from your garden?

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      1. Thanks, JeanMarie! I used to have a vegetable patch, but the nearby maple trees mean there’s too much shade and too many maple roots. Now I grow tomatoes in big pots and the veg patch has become a “herb garden.” Salad plants like the lamb’s lettuce and arugula come up as volunteers, so I use them sometimes.

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  3. I don’t mind plastic chairs and even a garden hose in a photograph but we have a crack in one wall that always seems to show up in pictures that drives me crazy. The other thing that bothers me is when an errant garbage can/bag creeps in. Sigh.

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    1. That’s true, Wayne! One of the original 4 experienced leg failure when subjected to some sort of abuse by another member of the household.
      Any new chairs will be in a more subtle colour.

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  4. Hoses and chairs in your lovely garden photos don’t bother me at all (and I really don’t even notice). This is real world living, not a spread for a house & garden magazine. I love seeing your gardens, Audrey!

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  5. I like a garden with some furniture, and hoses, there’s something relaxing about them a touch of the Human Signature.
    More to the point Audrey, as others have noted you have written a case for cheap plastic garden furniture and the necessity of caution in selecting hoses, still made it interesting and informative. The mark of a true writer, I reckon.

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  6. Hi Audrey, I agree with other voices here, not to be too concerned about those bits of plastic creeping into shot. I usually end up with the washing line, which is odd because, like the sneaky garden hose, I never see it at the time of the photograph – only afterwards. When my boys were young, it was impossible to find a shot without a brightly coloured plastic toy in it – always plastic and always brightly coloured. It helps to date these pictures, now, and jolts the memories of how much fun was had with that sit on toy tractor, or the toy digger.

    I recognise the style of the chair. I used to have a set of four that stacked, but which have all perished over time. Very good idea to use them for keeping your tools on. Mine always end up going into the compost with the weeds, so its the first place I look when I’ve lost a trowel. Zeke looked a fine old gentleman cat, and happy in his (your) garden. 19 years is a good age.

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  7. lol – I relate to the problem, but I’m such a poor photographer, I either crop bad stuff out or just shrug and leave it in. I’m a believer in warts-and-all photography, ๐Ÿ˜€

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