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Horticulture

   

IT is generally acknowledged that children learn a lot from their parents.  It is not so commonly admitted that parents learn a great deal from their children.  As adults, it is easy to assume that we are always right, but the laugh was on me one beautiful day.  My daughter Bonnie knew how much I loved flowers and when she was nine years old felt this justified taking some branches from our neighbor's blossoming fruit tree. Realizing where she had got them, but recognizing her intention to please me, I didn't scold her but chose a different approach.   "These are lovely, Bonnie, but do you realize that if you had left them on the tree, each of these blossoms would have become a cherry?"  "No, they wouldn't have," she stated firmly.  "Oh, yes, they would have.  Each of these blossoms would have grown into a cherry."  "No, they wouldn't," she said again stubbornly.  "Bonnie," I said, somewhat angrily, "each one of these blossoms would have become a cherry!"   "Well, okay," she finally conceded, "but they were plums last year!"


ONE morning a customer entered my flower shop and ordered a bouquet for his wife. "No card is needed," he told us. "She'll know who sent them." The delivery truck hadn't even returned to the store when the phone rang. It was the customer's wife. "Who sent the flowers?" she asked. After explaining that the customer had requested that no card be included I considered the matter closed — but not so. A bit later, she came rushing in the front door. "You've got to tell me who sent the flowers," she demanded, "before my husband gets home for lunch!"


FOR a number of years I worked with my Aunt Grace in the local library. Part of my responsibility was to care for the plants, but Aunt Grace was forever over watering them, or trimming them unnecessarily. One evening I was telling my husband about Aunt Grace's disastrous attentions when our daughter walked in. "What's annoying Mother?" she asked. "I think you could say," replied my husband, "that she has aunts in her plants."


AT THE garden centre a customer ordered several rolls of sod. After ringing up the purchase I told him the total. "That's too expensive," he said. "But it includes tax," I replied, trying to be helpful. "I don't think I'll need tacks," he said slowly. "It should stay down by itself."


WE HAD so many cucumbers we were having trouble finding different ways to use them up. Neither my mother nor I wanted to make one huge batch of something we'd be eating forever, so I was digging through all Mom's recipe books for new and interesting ideas.  After hours of work, we had whittled the piles down to a manageable level. Finally I found yet another relatively simple recipe and showed it to Mom. She started laughing. She had contributed it to a community book published for fund-raising and had later bought a copy to help out. She had forgotten the recipe and hadn't looked at the booklet in 30 years.


DRIVING along a residential street, I spotted a little girl on the edge of the sidewalk clutching an armful of daisies and dandelions, which she was obviously trying to sell. I stopped and asked how much she charged for her flowers. Holding out a bunch, she answered, "If it's just for somebody you're giving them to, it's five cents, but if it's for somebody you like it's ten cents, but if it's for somebody you . . ." At that point, I produced a quarter and said, "I'm sold. What can I buy for this?" Without hesitation, she handed me the whole bunch and accepted the quarter. But before heading for the candy store, she looked up, smiled and said, "It's nice to sell my flowers to someone who is going to give them to somebody he loves."


THE selling and selecting of watermelons in the South becomes a way of life in summer. Just about every one of my customers thumps many melons before making a final selection, but no one can ever agree on exactly what the proper sound of a ripe melon should be. One afternoon a blind man, a piano tuner by trade, came into my store to choose his melon. He felt and thumped some of the larger melons, but he always returned to the same one. Then, with two final resounding thumps, he announced, "B flat! I'll take it!"


A local florist just went out of business, but it was his own fault.  He kept getting his orders mixed  up.   One woman received flowers sent by her husband, who was at a business meeting in Florida.  She was perplexed by the message on her card:  "Our deepest sympathy."  But she was not nearly as surprised as the woman whose husband had just passed away.  Her card read,  "Hotter here than I expected.  Too bad you didn't come too."


I WAS selling surplus vegetables from our garden at the farmers' market.  Toward the end of the season, some of the otherwise delicious sweet corn began to show a little caterpillar damage at the tips.  If I noticed such imperfections, I'd put a bonus ear into each customer's bag.  One busy Saturday I gave an extra ear to each of two customers in succession, then noticed that the third in line was a particularly picky buyer.  Hoping to avoid criticism, I carefully selected 12 perfect ears for her.  It was the wrong strategy.  "How come you gave me only 12 and them 13?" she asked sharply.  "Because I gave you a dozen good ears and there were worms in some of theirs," I answered in a conciliatory manner.   "Well, then," she snapped, "I want a worm too!"  I meekly found a wormy ear and stuffed it in her bag.


WHEN my two-year-old was riding his tricycle one Spring day, I caught him pedaling through my neighbour's lovely rock garden, and plants were strewn everywhere!  I grabbed him off his trike and sent him home to his room.  Then I surveyed the mess.  I knelt down and started to replant as many flowers as I could.   As I worked it dawned on me that Lionel hadn't been out long enough to have done this amount of damage.  I stopped replanting and rang my neighbour's doorbell.   She greeted me cheerfully and, excusing her appearance, explained she had been weeding her garden all morning.


IT IS generally acknowledged that children learn a lot from their parents.  It is not so commonly admitted that parents learn a great deal from their children.  As adults, it is easy to assume that we are always right, but the laugh was on me one beautiful day.  My daughter Bonnie knew how much I loved flowers and when she was nine years old felt this justified taking some branches from our neighbor's blossoming fruit tree.  Realizing where she had got them, but recognizing her intention to please me, I didn't scold her but chose a different approach.   "These are lovely, Bonnie, but do you realize that if you had left them on the tree, each of these blossoms would have become a cherry?"  "No, they wouldn't have," she stated firmly.  "Oh, yes, they would have.  Each of these blossoms would have grown into a cherry."  "No, they wouldn't," she said again stubbornly.  "Bonnie," I said, somewhat angrily, "each one of these blossoms would have become a cherry!"   "Well, okay," she finally conceded, "but they were plums last year!"


OUR friend, who had just turned 60, was doing some spring planting with the help of his 91 year-old father.  When the older man began to put up beanpoles in straight lines, the son suggested that stacking them tepee- style was better.   A disagreement arose.  "Dad," our friend finally said, sighing, "this is my garden, and I want to use the tepees."  The father threw down his hoe and stomped off towards the house.  "You kids!" he snorted over his shoulder.  "Turn sixty and think that you know everything!"


MY MOTHER-IN-LAW loves to cook, and my father-in-law loves gardening. One day she needed an onion, and went to the mesh bag he had hung near the back door to get one. They both found the resultant dish tasty — but different.  The next morning, as he reached for the mesh bag, Dad announced that he had better plant those tulip bulbs before it rained.


STROLLING past old-world gardens in Nanaimo, B.C., I stopped to chat with an elderly man tending his rosebushes.  "I won first prize in our garden-club competition last year," he told me.  Without rancor, he added, "I can't enter this year because I'm president.  But I will again next year."  I congratulated him, and said I was sure he'd win again with such beautiful roses.  "How many members do you compete against?" I asked.   "Just my friend next door.  We take turns being president."


MOTHER has a green thumb.  Although some of her growing methods may seem unorthodox, my father has become accustomed to the unusual.  One afternoon she placed an aloe plant on the floor in front of the television set, where it would be in the direct path of a beam of sunshine.  When Dad came into the room he headed straight for the TV.  Seeing the aloe plant, he said matter-of-factly, "Sure hope it likes baseball."


SOME people are said to have a green thumb, but I'm not one of them.  In my keeping, plants wither and die.  Yet, I cannot resist the lure of a plant shop, and once inside, I usually discount my past failures and cart home another healthy, thriving victim.  Recently, as I was standing outside a plant shop, gazing with longing through the window at a leafy Dieffenbachia, I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard my husband whisper, "Let it live, dear."


MY MOTHER, whose talents do not include gardening, was planting seeds one afternoon when I dropped by to visit.  As I gazed at her not-too- straight rows, I suggested that she mark each row so that she would know what she had planted.  Without hesitation she replied, "My dear girl, this is a garden, not a cemetery.  I expect all of these seeds to come up and identify themselves."


EACH morning as I walked to work, I would stop for a while at the garden of a big house and chat with the old gardener.  He would pick a flower for me, and I would share some goodies from my lunch bag with him.  We fast became good friends, and I told him of my hopes and aspirations.  He suggested that I apply for a job with the nearby P.L. Robertson factory.  The pay would be better there than what I was making, he assured me.  I told him he should do the same, so we both agreed to apply on the same day.  On that day, while I was filling in my application form, the old gardener walked in.  Much to my surprise the office staff stood up and said in unison, "Good morning, P. L."  Needless to say, I was hired.


IT WAS such a beautiful spring like day that I went out in my yard to do some gardening.  I saw my next-door neighbor busily planting rosebushes and walked over to tell her that she would have better luck if she waited a few weeks.   But before I could say anything, she placed her forefinger on her lips.  As we walked back into my yard, she whispered, "I know it's a little early and you know it's a little early, but I don't think the roses know."


MY UMBRELLA plant had grown to the ceiling of my living room.   Not being a gardener, I didn't know what would happen if I cut off the top, so I decided to phone a government horticulturist for expert advice.  "What would happen if I cut off the top of my umbrella plant?" I asked.  "You would have a shorter plant," came the reply.
   

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Last updated October 02, 2015 by Becquet Enterprises