Adults love plants.
They really simply love plants.
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This is what I discovered on Father’s Day, when my dad said what he most wished to do on his special day was purchase a few “aesthetically pleasing” Mountain Laurel plants for our front yard.
‘Twere this me, I would have asked for an aesthetically pleasing check for an aesthetically pleasing amount of cash atop an aesthetically pleasing BMW. But I guess when you’re financially independent, vehicles and money are trumped by passions for botany.
As a newb to this whole plant-purchasing scene, I actually showed up to Mahoney’s Garden Center considering we’d look at some plants, probably consult one of the roaming experts to get 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, appearance! 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 various other plants. ” They gently waft its smell and reach out their particular arms, so as to establish trust.
However, Mom gets cold feet.
“That’s nice, Mike, but is it slow-growing? I NEED it to be slow-growing! ” Mom exclaims.
“I’m not sure whether it’s slow growing, ” Dad responds.
“Well that will never work, then! It MUST be slow growing. I refuse to miss yet another blooming period. ”
Mom’s formal “plant criticism” firmness sounds like Queen Elizabeth, after sipping afternoon tea made with toilet drinking water.
We are teetering at the precipice of a second War of the Roses.
(Don’t you dare Google “Queen At the, War of the Roses. ” My version of history is just as good since the real one. )
But then, there is hope.
“Ooh, Mike, look! It’s a Flaming Fire Flower!! ” Mother exclaims.
(Unclear if that’s really what Mom said… my botany lexicon is in its fetal stages. )
Dad looks dubious. These are the plants of royalty, usually only available to the likes of Bruce Jenner or Justin Bieber’s body twice!
But by George, it is the Flaming Fire Flower!
Dad scurries over 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 term. )
Mom and Dad linger at the flower, but know in their heart associated with hearts that making such a buy would be rash and irresponsible. They have got three kids at home! How could they possibly care for the little guy?
(Plants are, after all, very high maintenance and likely to swallow LEGGOs plus paste if not cared for properly. )
They’re forced to retreat from the natural leather jackets of the botany kingdom and to instead enter the sensible trousers region… the Perennials.
After several mins of “off-piste” detours and distractions, we finally leave the greenhouse and enter the open plains.
The particular hour has finally arrived! Is actually time to pick out our Mountain Laurels.
“I prefer a red flower, ” Mom says.
Dad looks like he swallowed a bug.
“I find where you’re coming from, Cynthia, yet 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… inch she replies.
From their tones, I could tell that Mom and Dad have turned into country clubbers with a shared interest for landscape.
(Dad has also for some reason acquired boat shoes since our arrival at Mahoney’s, and Mom is making calls about the girl next DAR meeting. )
We 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 particular blooms… but not so sparse they never bloom. ”
They must become tall. But not “gigantic… but not so small that they don’t grow for 2 years… but not so tall that they dominate the terrain… but not so average that they just seem… normal. ”
In listening to this discussion, I’ve reached the conclusion that the plant we are searching for looks something like a tree, mixed with a safari animal, mixed with a child, mixed with an NFL player.