This is a true story, but I don’t know whether to start at the end (is there ever really an end?) or at the beginning (where is the beginning, exactly?).
It’s about gardening, personal restraint, and fuzzy memory that is either regret or relief.
Yesterday after my run, I stopped to browse the clearance sale at Earl’s, my favorite gardening center. Their greenhouse shelves were thinner than usual, but what they still had was as healthy and beautiful as ever. I loaded my arms with a tray of fluffy, deeply hued coleus and lantana, all quart-sized beauties for a fraction of the original cost. I told myself they would look good until Halloween or later, the lantana would prossibly come back next year, and I could even take cuttings from the exotic coleus. A smart purchase, if I did say so myself.
Then I wandered over to the shrubs. My mouth watered over the long limbed climbing roses and thematic viburnum. I quizzed myself about some icy blue tinted evergreens and how good they would look with a red crepe myrtle. Then I saw forsythia.
Fall gardening is where my mind is for vegetables, but spring gardening is where my landscape needs a planning boost. As most gardeners would agree, forsythia could go a long way toward providing that. At just $19 per three-gallon shrub minus a 25% clearance discount, I could make a solid investment in springtime cheer for less than the cost of instant gratification coleus and lantana.
So I put all those plants back where I found them and walked around for another ten minutes, consulting myself and getting quite dizzy because I had just run fasted after a full morning of chores and was hungry.
I walked around the herb tables, tried to remember what else I was going to buy for the fall garden, and got in a little argument with myself about where I would even plant the forsythia if I bought them.
Eventually I walked to the cashier, empty handed. She recognized me.
“Oh hey, how are you? We haven’t seen you in a while!” That was true. I had not been in since early June. I’m not mad at them or anything! I just had enough plants and have been trying to limit extra driving. But I wasn’t mad at them!
We chatted like old friends as I confirmed the sale price of the forsythia, then I smiled, said thanks, and proceeded to leave without buying anything. This might have been the first time I ever visited Earl’s without buying anything.
This sweet girl’s bright smile fell all the way into a frown, and she furrowed her pretty brow. “Oh, ok? Bye?”
As if resisting the urge to buy plants wasn’t enough of a demonstration of free agency, I also resisted the urge to explain myself. I just walked toward the exit, free as a bird.
As I pushed open the glass door I said in a way too loud, way too high pitched voice, “I’ll probably see you Friday or Saturday!”
“Oh ok!” She smiled again and beamed. I wanted to give her a hug, but I took my sweaty, hungry self to my car.
That was all yesterday mid-morning. I drove straight home and went about my day doing housework and planting fall greens, bathing Klaus, talking to the horses, coordinating weekend plans, etc. Normal Tuesday stuff.
Fast forward several hours.
In the early evening, our area enjoyed a sudden rainfall, and I thought to myself, “How nice that those coleus are getting a good drink already!”
To which I obviously replied, “No, you didn’t buy them!”
Handsome and I had a late and offbeat dinner, watched some tv, and slept soundly. Early this morning, I woke up in a slight panic, worried that I forgotten to plant the forsythia. Because, you may recall, I couldn’t decide where to plant them, so there was no clear image of them anywhere in the ground, in my mind.
“No, remember, you didn’t buy those either?”
So now I want them again. Who else will buy them, like they are puppies up for adoption?
The End, Probably.