I'm in love.
At least, that's what I announced to P on Saturday afternoon when I got home from a spring-fever induced errand run to every local nursery (no seriously, I hit 'em allll up).
The first several had some lovely houseplants that were looking quite nice, but it's really too early for planting anything and the rest of their stock was old news. I chatted for several minutes about to one leather-faced garden-guy about the viability of my lavender from seed, which, by the way, he's not too encouraging about. Being both cheap and suspicious, I think he is just trying to psych me out so I'll buy his one-gallon-for-$7 lavender. Ha. Garden guy, I laugh in your general direction. My lavender will survive. It will survive! (Hey heeyyy...)
On my way home I remembered a small sign I've sometimes passed on my way back from various errands, indicating a cut flowers shop down a quiet, windy street just outside of town. Why not try it? It was 55 degrees outside. I was up for anything.
After a few initial wrong turns, I pulled up outside a rather dreary looking greenhouse and wondered to myself if it was even open. It was 55 degrees outside though, and did I mention I was up for anything? This girl has seen too many straight days of below-freezing weather to be deterred by a few grimy windows. I practically skipped to the front door and whaddya know, the door was open. I stepped inside and was greeted by no one but precariously stacked clay pots and a few empty hanging baskets flung haphazardly around some muddy stairs, which I followed up. Near the top of the stairs, I detected my first whiff of heaven.
Let me pause for a moment to describe this fragrance to you so that you can fully understand its impact on my person. It's the smell of green things, and life, and clean healthy dirt and humidity and pure edenic happiness. Adam and Eve must have lived their entire, beautiful prelapsarian lives surrounded by this scent, it filling their lungs with every breath they took while naming all those little animals dancing around naked eating pomegranates without hindrance of seeds. (I mean really, Eden was perfect. Why would they need seeds?) Let me tell you, my soul remembers those days and it stirred in my veins that Saturday morning. This wasn't some ordinary greenhouse smell, this was a perfect greenhouse smell. It could induce world peace.
Once I stepped through the narrow door, the sight of it was just as wonderful. This greenhouse must be run by The Secret Garden committee or something, because everything was just too perfect. Flowers everywhere. Gorgeous little topiaries, dramatic cactus, incredible hanging ivies, all without a single droop or mite or brittle leaf to be seen. They were packed in so tightly that all the eye could see was green, green, GREEN. After three months of snow, it was surely a sight for sore eyes.
Many, many plants caught my eye. Eventually a dumpy old lady with muddy hands emerged (of course! she was just like a storybook plant lady! I bet her name is Flora.) and I may or may not have asked her if I could move in to her greenhouse. Or at least have a tea party.
One of the most wonderful plants there was a huge tuffet that must have been two and a half feet in diameter, of solid baby tears. If you don't know, baby tears are made up of very delicate creeping vines that are packed very densely with tiny, bright green leaves. They grow in springy patches on which Thumbalina surely sleeps. This particular "mother" plant of baby tears (so called because cuttings from this tuffet serve as the starters for the small pots of baby tears that are actually for sale) is so healthy and beautiful that it has grown up on itself in a big mound and spilled over the edges of the pot, making the pot itself completely invisible behind the dense curtain of tiny leaves. The adorable plant lady told me it was fifteen years old. I wanted to take it home with me. Alas, it was not for sale.
It wasn't until traveling further down the narrow greenhouse path, though, that I fell in love.
About halfway down, on the left, I saw it. The most beautiful plant. It was about four feet tall, with glossy dark green leaves. Not only was it covered in cute little star-like flowers, but its graceful branches were arched with the heavy burden of its gorgeous bright yellow fruits. It was a Meyer Lemon, in full fruit.
I must have gazed at that lemon tree for a solid five minutes before the adorable plant lady came over to me. She explained to me how the care is very simple, as long as it has good light. She told how wonderful it is that the citrus season is during the winter, so when you have to bring the tree in during the dreary months, you are rewarded with this cheerful spectacle. She reminded me that Meyer lemons are known for being the most flavorful and sweet of all the lemon varieties. She even told me that if I prune the tree by cutting off the new growth, I can just put the cuttings in a pot and produce my own baby lemon trees. She told me all these wonderful things about the tree, but, really, I didn't need to be sold. It had me at hello.
Not one of my cheaper finds, I didn't take the tree home with me. The whole way home I caressed the little lemon that the adorable plant lady offered me, thinking about which of the various south-facing windows I could utilize to offer the lemon tree a good home.
The lemon fruit I brought home was bright yellow and smelled wonderful. So wonderful in fact, that Ulrich immediately stole it, squashed it, and rolled in the juice. He's a dog after my own heart.
Hey, its better than what dogs usually roll in.
It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that P was able to come by the greenhouse with me and see for himself. Was he as blown away as I was? Well...he's good at playing along. I can't expect everyone to get as excited as I do about these things. C once made fun for me for hours for cooing over an adorable blueberry bush.
"Would it make you happy?" P asked.
"Yeahhhh," I sighed, my pupils turning to heartshapes.
He smiled, "I'll load it into the car."
What do you do when your husband gives you lemons? KISS HIM!
My inability to take adequate pictures really does not do this darling plant justice. Also, please ignore the paint splotches on the wall. I told you already, I was not cut out to be an interior decorator.