Tuesday, July 29th 2008
It was a Magical, Unexpected Morning…

J-Mom had the idea to go walk around a certain local garden.  I love a good garden, and I hadn’t been to this one in awhile.

We were promptly greeted by the cat who lives in the garden, and she served as tour guide. She’s done this before, a service each garden should have, but few do. THe layout of the garden bothers me. Well. No. It bothers me that you come in at the very CENTER of the garden.

Then you have to turn right or left. Which means that then you’d be backtracking to get to the other side. I decided we should walk briskly all the way to the left, looking at nothing on the ground, then make one large left to right sweep.

My mother humored me, and suggested we look at a large red and white tower of some sort, spiking into the sky.

Lest we see a plant.

In a garden.  

We reached the far left side, then were making our way back when we encountered the next volunteer guide. Our faithful cat guide was still at our side, unfazed by the brisk leftward sprint we made. I suspect people must do that all the time.

Our new, human, guide got into a conversation with J-Mom about copper plants and she told us of many of the plants, of previous students who had studied there, of pretty much everything. She’d been weeding when we arrived, but seemed willing to stop and give us her next 45 minutes. She invited us into the greenhouses (I never knew the public could go in them, but she assured us we could), and there she regaled us with the history of many of the plants.

She must have sensed we were the sort who would be receptive to such tales. Receptive? More like invigorated.

I loved how she knew the exact age of each plant, and how it had come to be. She showed us a bougainvillea who had suffered a brutal pruning by a student’s mother who never should have laid a hand on it. That was 3 years past, but you could tell it had been difficult to forgive such a misdeed. The plant had finally recovered.

She showed us an entire table full of small jade plants. They were all descended from her personal jade plant, which she’d received from her father’s friend in Denver in the 1940s. He was a dry cleaner, he sensed he would soon die, and so he passed along his jade plant. Now, 70 years later, that table overflows with baby jades. She picked one up and offhandedly said, “If you ever need a plant for a gift, just come in. We’ll always have jades or others for purchase…”

Each plant had a story, an age, a memory. It was as if she were introducing us to her family members.

She pointed out a plant that had familiar, tiny leaves. Years ago I’d fallen in love with a tiny pencil illustration of the same plant in a very thick Sunset gardening book. I looked in nurseries until I found it, and had been delighted to finally bring it home. It did fairly well, and I’m not sure what happened to it. Maybe it didn’t survive a move. Or a kid. Or maybe I just didn’t take care of it as well as I could have. I don’t remember.

But our greenhouse guide must have seen that this plant – for me – had a significance and a story, she tore off a part of it and told me how to start it at home.

I felt like she’d just handed me a baby.

It made my day.

Then we went back outside, and on our own, J-Mom and I looked at the passion vine, and admired the butterflies and caterpillars our guide had told us to look for. Our cat guide rejoined us.

We left, with me cradling my new cutting of Baby’s Tears. The cat stayed behind, waiting for her next visitors.

What a perfect morning.


5 Comments on “It was a Magical, Unexpected Morning…”

July 29th, 2008
5:54 pm

This sounds wonderful! The Cowgirl and I would definitely enjoy this — can you tell me where it is located?

July 30th, 2008
3:21 am

All I can think about is Peace when I imagine your day in the garden.

Just think, your new “baby” won’t poop, pee or scream. :)


julie carobini
July 30th, 2008
8:21 pm

What a fabulous day, sigh… So busy lately. Used to really be in to gardening until we moved to a slightly different climate and not much of what I grew before was happy in the new place. Then it became either gardening, or novel writing…

Thanks for a peaceful, memory-provoking post. –J

July 31st, 2008
1:50 pm

Sweet Story. I like the part about the cat the best:)

August 2nd, 2008
12:39 am

Sounds like the epitome of a perfect day.

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