Adults love plants.
They really simply love plants.
This is what I learned on Father’s Day, when my dad said what he most wished to do on his special day was buy a few “aesthetically pleasing” Mountain Laurel plants for our front yard.
‘Twere it me, I would have asked for an aesthetically pleasing check for an aesthetically pleasing amount of money atop an aesthetically pleasing BMW. But I guess when you’re financially independent, vehicles and money are trumped simply by passions for botany.
As a newb to this whole plant-purchasing scene, I showed up to Mahoney’s Garden Center considering we’d look at some plants, maybe consult one of the roaming experts regarding advice on watering, and then be on this way.
How naïve. How “plant basic. ”
My parents shopping for vegetation was a combination of a safari within the Sahara, picking out a puppy, and composing players for the NFL:
“Cynthia, look! I found a Nipmuck. ”
Mother creeps quietly over to the Nipmuck. Together, Mom and Dad observe it in its natural habitat. They assess its height, girth, texture, color, and “likelihood to assimilate with the additional plants. ” They gently waft its smell and reach out their particular arms, so as to establish trust.
But then, Mom gets cold feet.
“That’s nice, Mike, but is it slow-growing? I NEED it to be slow-growing! inches Mom exclaims.
“I’m not sure if it’s slow growing, ” Dad responds.
“Well that will never work, then!
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It MUST be slow growing. I refuse to miss yet another blooming period. ”
Mom’s formal “plant criticism” build sounds like Queen Elizabeth, after drinking afternoon tea made with toilet drinking water.
We are teetering at the precipice of the second War of the Roses.
(Don’t you dare Google “Queen At the, War of the Roses. ” The version of history is just as good because the real one. )
But then, there is hope.
“Ooh, Mike, look! It’s a Flaming Fire Flower!! ” Mom exclaims.
(Unclear if that’s really what Mom said… my botany lexicon is in its fetal stages. )
Dad looks dubious. These are the particular plants of royalty, usually limited to the likes of Bruce Jenner or Justin Bieber’s body double!
But by George, it is the Flaming Fire Flower!
Dad scurries to the plant excitedly.
Both parents invest a long time reading the plant’s description. (Our Saharan safari tour guide has come down with an unfortunate situation of traveler’s diarrhea, and so we must educate ourselves through the written word. )
Mom and Dad linger at the herb, but know in their heart of hearts that making such a purchase would be rash and irresponsible. They have got three kids at home! How can they possibly care for the little guy?
(Plants are, after all, very high servicing and likely to swallow LEGGOs and paste if not cared for properly. )
They’re forced to retreat from the natural leather jackets of the botany kingdom and also to instead enter the sensible trousers area… the Perennials.
After several mins of “off-piste” detours and interruptions, we finally leave the greenhouse and enter the open plains.
The particular hour has finally arrived! It can time to pick out our Mountain Laurels.
“I prefer a red flower, inches Mom says.
Dad looks like this individual swallowed a bug.
“I find where you’re coming from, Cynthia, but I do think a white flower much more in tune with our ‘creative vision. ‘”
Mom purses her lips and twitches her eyes in disgust.
“Mhm, yes, quite… ” she replies.
From their tones, I could tell that Mom and Dad have turned into country clubbers with a shared enthusiasm for landscape.
(Dad has also in some way acquired boat shoes since the arrival at Mahoney’s, and Mom is making calls about her next DAR meeting. )
We all peruse the white Mountain Laurel section, looking for three plants which are “flowered… but not too flowered… but not so lacking in flowers that they appear bare and hideous… but not so flowered that we will miss the blooms… but not so sparse they never bloom. ”
They must become tall. But not “gigantic… but not therefore small that they don’t grow for 2 years… but not so tall that they dominate the terrain… but not therefore average that they just seem… ordinary. ”
In listening to this discussion, I’ve reached the conclusion that the flower we are searching for looks something like the tree, mixed with a safari animal, mixed with a child, mixed with an NFL player.