My daughter phoned this morning to say she’d called in sick. Would I like to go to a couple of plant nurseries with her? Possibly a more righteous person would have refused to go along with the deceit, but any parent of adult children knows they do not cotton to our advice. And it’s not like I have never called in sick myself when I just really needed a day off. At any rate, today I too needed some greenhouse time to cope with our cold May weather.
Is there any better way to spend a chilly spring morning than in a greenhouse? Warmth, humidity, green leaves, blossoms. Scarlet geraniums defying the cold outside, perky yellow marigolds substituting for sunshine, cascading purple petunias, hanging baskets dripping with pink and white fuchsias.
Then the vegetables! Just touching a tomato leaf releases the scent of August—our tiny tomato patch with ripe, juicy globes of red. George and I watching the first one greedily—each hoping to beat the other to the first real taste of summer.
I could call gardening a religious experience: Faith in warmer days to come—Hope that this year I’ll outwit the snails and grasshoppers—and Charity for aching muscles that I cart off for a massage after a day of stoop labor.
We leave the nursery an hour later, our arms laden with leaves and blossoms, our wallets lighter. And no, my yard will never look like a Sunset Magazine layout, but perfection is no more essential for happiness than intelligence is for procreation.