by David G. Woolley
Farmers have four seasons. Hallmark and Home Depot Nursery have invented at least twelve more. The venerable card company reported that the Mother's Day season was rather cool and wet which means sales of their most expensive floral arrangement e-cards were down compared to last year. Home Depot had no comment on the tulip season that came and went quickly. They only talk bulbs around Halloween. Hallmark is still trying to add All Hallow's Eve to the farmer's almanac, but the editor insists you can't have a one-day-long season. Hallmark hasn't given up. They're working on a trick or treat card that gives you the option of dispensing penny candy or lifting the family mini van onto your roof. Hallmark stock rose two dollars on the news. The farmer's almanac is predicting colder than average temperatures for Halloween this year with an accumulation of high altitude mini vans.
Most of us wouldn't be nearly as good at gardening if not for the Home Depot nursery reminding us its time to pull out the wilting pansies and put in the impatients. Or the K-mart nursery. Or the Smith's Grocery Nursery. Or the Jiffy Lube nursery. I planted 528 inpatients this weekend. All of them from Starkey's Nursery. It's a back water, mom and pop operation the 1-800-flower marketing revolution forgot. They also missed the memo on price increases. Dad would have been proud. For him timing was everything, which has little to do with ideal planting weather conditions and everything to do with sale prices.
After cancer took my father over one year ago, my siblings and I built a little flower garden for mother. We ripped out the ugly railroad ties and installed a stone wall with an elevated garden and landscape lighting. We carted in heroic-sized potted trees and flowers. And we lined the fences and brick walls with trellis climbing roses. There's a little stone near the entrance with the phrase "Dad's Garden" etched into the top. Its a relaxing place. The birds love it. Dad probably wouldn't. The ugly railroad ties were just fine. Hallmark and Home Depot were not permitted to dictate his purchases.
Two days before Dad passed away, he was sitting in the front room with family gathered around. Cancer is an unpredictable enemy. You never know when its going to win. Things weren't going well, but we didn't know he only had a couple of days. Speaking was difficult. The cancer was lodged in his throat. He paused and looked up at the ceiling. My sister thought he was seeing the other side. If he was, heaven must be a frugal place. He raised his hand, pointed to the recessed lighting and said,
"Mother, there are ten lights on."
The garden makes mom happy. Its a peaceful addition to the life of a woman with a peaceful soul. Once all 528 impatients were planted I told her that, despite Dad's frugal ways, he likely approved. If she was happy then dad was too. She agreed.
Planting your summer flower garden anytime soon? Home Depot sells inpatients for fourteen dollars a flat. For everything else there's love.
Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website. He is also a weekly contributor to the Latter Day Authors blog and he writes commentary and opinion at the Utah Ranger's Far Post blog