I like things to be functional, but beautiful. Life is just entirely too short to not be able to enjoy the beauty of everyday objects or to make everyday objects beautiful. I don't own anything I don't use. Partially due to living in a small house with limited storage and paritally due to being on the cheap side. :) And, I admit, I also love using "special" things as often as possible. Special occasions happen far more frequently than most people realize! Sometimes surviving a Tuesday is quite a feat!
Case in point: I drink my morning coffee out of a china tea cup (it's the most frequent use of our china actually) and have a tiny silver spoon that I got cheaply to eat my Yoplait. It's actually kind of funny...me, sitting around on a Sunday morning in an old T-shirt and Winnie-the-Pooh flannel boxers (from high school no less!) sipping coffee from fine china and eating yogurt with a silver spoon while I peruse a magazine from the library. Quite the contrast!
Similarly, I like that kind of quirky contrast in the garden. Vegetable gardens can look...well...a bit farm-y for a small backyard in the suburbs. Or just a little too functional for my taste. What I need is a bit of whimsy. Unexpected color. My "whimsy" touches include some small garden gnomes and red ceramic mushrooms I found in the dollar bins at Target several months ago.
Additionally, I had been on the lookout for a rain gauge but...to be honest, most were kinda too ugly for *my* garden. That is until we went to Smith & Hawken and found the yellow one below! (picture from Smith & Hawken website) Cuteness!
In addition the the whimsical touches above, I planted some marigolds and nasturtiums in between the peppers and tomatoes. These add pops of color until the tomatoes & pepper plants provide something other than green. In addtional, they have been attracting butterflies. See?
Form + Function = Fabulous.
Next year I plan to make the tomato stakes more attractive. I am considering painting wooden stakes a nice purple or blue (This depends on first researching whether the tomatoes would be safe to eat if the plant comes in contact with paint. And if chemicals would be leached still if the paint does not touch the soil...meaning I would plan to only paint the part that it above-soil. Anyone know the answer to this?). The other idea is to use cedar stake with colorful cabinet knobs screwed into the top. This second idea would be much easier and since I'm pretty lazy, is probably what I will go with...
Another ideas for quirky garden additions: colorful bottles with the necks buried to create an edging, bottle paths/"plantings", broken plate edging (bury the sharp pieces!), and crazy containers (think old rain boots with annuals spilling out or tin cans or a baby carriage!).