I like plants and flowers. One of my favourite childhood memories is of my mother, working in her garden. My mom had a big vegetable garden in the back yard, where she patiently grew corn, green beans, collard greens, cabbage and tomatoes. As a child I hated having to weed that garden, but I enjoyed eating the amazing food produced from her labour.
In the front yard, Mom had her flower garden, which was generally agreed to be one of the nicest gardens on our street. On the right-hand side of the front porch beneath the living room window was a large forsythia bush whose cheery yellow flowers rivalled the sun. On the other side of the porch directly beneath my parent’s bedroom window was her flower bed. Her rosebushes grew straight and tall against the house unaided by any trellis. The heads of her marigolds were mutant sized. Her petunias spread across the front of the flower bed in a delightful riot of colour. Anything Mom planted bloomed and grew.
I’m thinking of that garden and flowers and plants on this rainy March Saturday as I yearn for spring, sitting in my computer chair with a hot water bottled nestled against my sore back. Actually, it was the bouquet of flowers my boyfriend brought me yesterday evening that started me thinking about my love of plants, especially flowers.
My girlfriends tell me I’m lucky – after eight years, my boyfriend still comes through the door on Friday nights with flowers. Last night, as I exclaimed with delight over this latest bouquet, he grunted and said, “I don’t like ‘em.”
“But they’re beautiful!” I protested, filling a vase with water. “And you picked ‘em – what’s wrong with ‘em?”
“They’re not the ones I wanted,” he said. “It’s not the bouquet I would have picked for you.”
Carefully cutting the bottom of a rose stem at an angle, I jokingly suggested that perhaps he should grow the next bouquet himself.
“I know what you like,” he said simply. “Do you think I just go in the shop and grab some flowers… just snatch the first bunch I see? No. I don’t browse, either – I take my time, I look at them. Cause I know what you like.”
“I shoulda known,” I laughed. “You are the man who brought me that big fruit basket on our first date.”
“I didn’t buy the fruit basket,” he corrected me. “You said you didn’t have a fruit bowl – you said you needed one. So I bought the bowl. Then I picked out fruit for the bowl, and bought the coloured cellophane and the ribbon and wrapped it all up.”
“Wow,” I said. “I remember being knocked out by that fruit basket. And I always thought you bought it that way. You’re an amazing man.”
“Oh wheesht,” he said. “All this fuss over flowers. I buy them cause they make you happy. And it means I have a peaceful life.”
“You wheesht, you old git,” I replied. “Anyway, thank you….to me, they’re gorgeous. I’m just happy you still bring me flowers.” And I gave him a smile and a snog.