“Why do the pansies all look so crappy this year?” she asked, in a tone I didn’t like. I stood there, staring into the brightest sun all the while being pummeled with raindrops from the cloud that was more above me than her at that particular time. I looked up, shrugged – and walked back into my little greenhouse and got back to my work.
I was standing at the counter at River St. one day last season with a line up of eager gardeners to tend to. I looked up to a voice asking “Do you recognize me? Do you know who I am?” I blinked in confusion, knowing the voice, not recognizing who it was coming from…It was Nick. Cancer had taken him. I knew him but didn’t, and it was heartbreaking. That huge line of gardeners were all silent - those who saw my reaction and heard; I couldn’t help but cry while I worked for a while after that. That moment with Nick was brief; it was my last.
My mother has been researching her family tree and it turns out my great grandfather was a Nick (story currently unfolding); an my great grandfather of my father’s side was a gardener for the city of Utrecht.
The influences and memories of many father’s, and family’s and stories and personal confessions made at the greenhouse – it’s in these experiences I absorb the most pleasure at this time of year. I love planting season for what it is, and selling season only (wellll, mostly) for these moments.
Math professor, bee keeper, chicken farmer, my Dad