Books for Everyone!

Mid-April 2022

Flower of the Hour

The Wednesday Wandering this week occurred on Thursday, when the small-town temperature hit a record high of 90 F. I was going to drive my Caddy, in tandem with the vintage Ford F-100, driven by Dear Husband. Given, however, the robberies being reported to 9-1-1, nationwide, of Pump #7 robbing the driver of all of his money, I decided to sit in the passenger seat of the truck, and let the spouse take the wheel.

Before departing the domicile, I tried to get a recent pic of me with Gabrielle, the Snowshoe cat, who does not like the sight of a camera, or having her picture taken. She tolerated one pic or two before softly and pitifully meowing. Her aura and my aura do not gladly coincide!

It was a fantastic, sunny day, one of those early spring afternoons when the wind coming through the truck window blows through your hair, and you forget all about chores and the bores of the world. Our 1966 Ford truck was a lucky buy during the autumn of 2016 when a guy in Texas was very desperate to sell it; and my guy in California was very happy to buy it.

There’s no air conditioning, just the rolled-down windows, and the feeling that you’re whizzing along the freeway, not being go-carted with EPA emissions having been met, and the air-bags all set to activate and blow into your face.

Sometimes life has to be lived a bit on the edge. I even rode without a cell phone in my purse!

The customers at the local nursery were in a friendly, chatty, elated mood. Everyone was polite and cheerful, and they all took turns chatting up Chance. A couple of people had brought their dogs (one was named Karma, which I consider really tempting fate), but they paid extravagant attention to Chance.

One women asked to pet his silky ears. I promptly gave permission, and she proceeded to tell me tales of her Bassett hounds, Muffin, Montgomery, and Morgan. Three Bassett hounds, I thought. Lots of clean-up with those monster paws!

In leaving, this woman told me that Chance had made her day. I smiled at the thought and assured her that’s what he’s here for.

It was a real love-fest amidst the flower of the hour, who seemed to be a beagle named Chance. He takes the praise and affectionate stroking of the fur in stride. He’s quite used to it. No matter where this dog goes, he is the center of attention. Without any social media presence or activities!

(Just like his owner.)

Today, I was intent on replacing some plants that had died during the past winter frost. Some small ornamental fountain grasses froze; three large, more hardy ones were purchased. To my great dismay, my geraniums, even the potted ones, do not do well in my new locale. The water-logged stems freeze quickly, and then it’s adieu for the pelargonium.

I did contemplate pulling the potted geraniums into the garage during winter, but then I yielded to the cold, hard facts of reality. I no longer reside in Newcastle, a horticultural and temperate facsimile of Provence, with blinding dry, hot summers and decomposed granite for soil. Geraniums thrived everywhere there, in pots, in flower beds, in gardens.

I now live in the Sierra Nevada foothills, with rich topsoil, and freezing winter temps. The foothills of Pyrénées orientales are more akin to my flora and any flower of the hour.

The geranium is not the flower of the hour.

The flower of the hour, for me, is typically the rose. Today, I limited my purchase to one rose tree, a stunner named South Africa Sunbelt. The carpet roses, in coral and apple-blossom, technically qualify as Rosa, but I’ll not be pruning them. There are more than enough bare slopes for them to start to carpet-cover the ground. They’ll get a good start, tomorrow.

Of course, I had to purchase a favorite perennial, a Nikko blue hydrangea, along with a few African daisies. The soil here is certainly acidic enough for the hydrangea. There’s a place in the shade for it, and a sunny slope for the clumping daisies.

I’ve scoped out some prime locations for a few ornamental trees: a tulip magnolia, dogwood, and cedar.

The cedar tree replaces an Italian stone pine tree that Dear Husband purchased in a grocery store, post-Christmas 2018. He dubbed it The Salvini Tree, in honour of Matteo Salvini. That Italian leader of the Northern League party is biding his time, waiting for sanity to return to Italy. (It’ll be a while.)

This past winter, a large buck rubbed his antlers against the tender trunk and incipient canopy of the Salvini tree. Spreading his eau de buck put an end to that budding evergreen.

With some enchantment, I eyed a gorgeous gilded elephant ornament for the garden. At $275, Mr. Pachyderm can reside with pride in this huge nursery. There was a white elephant as well, but the gold one is spectacular!

This business had been family-owned for decades, but, in 2019, the proprietors leased the vast acreage to a small corporation in northern California. Thus far, this duo-private enterprise has thrived. The founders of this plant-haven were fortunate to have buddied-up with a bigger-business when they did, although the locals bemoaned the intrusion of a corporate entity upon a small-business.

Every size and type of an enterprise has its plusses and its minuses. This family enterprise, in my experienced opinion, possessed more minuses than plusses. I, and some friends, have experienced some insulting, even injurious, business and personal dealings with the original owners. It took the promising prospects of this newbie company called Green Acres to lure me back to this particular nursery. The site has been modernized, refurbished, expanded, and so wonderfully improved that those sour notes of the past are well in the past.

The beauty of a garden can perform those miracles of the heart. The lushness and vibrant colors of a plant nursery can work as a soothing balm for people who need a few rays of sunshine in their lives. It’s not often that I encounter the complete radiance of people in a public setting. Too often, a curmudgeon or whiner spoils the fun for everyone.

Not so today.

The flower of the hour was kindness.

It just might be infectious, those invisible spores of good will, floating from human heart to human heart. Some auras just naturally impart generosity. I still feel jubilant to have taken part in the high spirits of spring amidst a warming trend in the weather. Without any demand or expectation, that warming trend of the heart just might continue beyond today.