Drought brings new discoveries of flowers that unfurl, August 14, 2014

Author: Heather Hacking hhacking@chicoer.com @HeatherHacking on Twitter
If I was an entrepreneur instead of a writer, this drought would have me dreaming up new, undeniably necessary products for gardeners who are struggling through dry times.

Perhaps I would open a “drought online store,” filled with new hobbies for wanna-be gardeners.

• Garden statues that look like fruit trees.

• Paint-by-number garden beds. (Watch your garden bloom with each stroke of the brush).

• Macrame clematis vine.

• Latch-hook lawn kits.

An entire product line would be dedicated to nail care products. When gardeners aren’t gardening, we suddenly realize we have fingernails.
“Drought got you down?” the clever web words would query. “Check out our line of lichen. You can grow intriguing, microscopic worlds of lichen while still being a conscientious conserver.”

I would have no problem recruiting a talented workforce. No doubt the lack of water has caused nurseries to cut back on their staff.

I know I’ve cut back on my contributions to the nursery industry.

In a normal year I might have purchased several wheelbarrows full of new plants. I just moved into a new house. I would have gone hog-wild.

However, I have only indulged in one six-pack of portulaca and another six-pack of Vinca major. These are placed right at the entrance to my door.

Home-grown snob

Why would I buy cut flowers when I can watch them grow? That’s been my credo for a long time.

This also makes it that much more exciting when someone buys me flowers as a thank-you or wildly romantic gesture.

Yet, this year is a game-changer.

For five bucks you can buy a ginormous bouquet of flowers at the farmers market.

I think to myself, “I am making a wildly romantic gesture to myself.”

The bundles of color are so large I can usually create five small bouquets to spread throughout the house.

This week I also rediscovered gladiolas.

Trader Joe’s had bundles of six long stems for $2. I wondered why they were so cheap. They were in an empty pail, without water, so maybe they would soon die.

Have you noticed that every person who works at Trader Joe’s seems helpful and happy? I’m guessing this is because they get discounts on important food items including dark chocolate peanut butter cups and pumpkin soup.

The genuinely nice clerk said the gladiolas were intentionally sold from an empty pail. When I got home and added water, the blooms would open, the clerk said with genuine interest in my happiness.

“Unfurl,” is probably a better word choice, but I didn’t want to correct him. He was too nice.

It’s been seven days now, and the flowers are just now coming into their prime.

Let’s face it. Part of the fun of gardening is to watch the progress — from seedling to flower, first fruit to large orb. Tomatoes are a thrill each time I check the plants. When a tomato ripens, I smile each time I check the color change from green to red.

Store-bought gladiolas are certainly nowhere near the same. Yet, I’ll take what I can get.

Moving onward

As I have repeatedly chronicled, I’m still moving in to my new house.

Before handing over the keys to the old house, I needed to make some important decisions. For example, should I dig up the daffodils in the old yard?

I must admit, I tried. The dirt was too hard and I ran out of time.

In a gracious gesture, I left the daffodil bulbs as a gift to the new renter.

Now I can give again, this time to the ailing horticultural industry. For $12 I bought a brand new bag of bulbs, which are now happily stored in the crisper drawer of my refrigerator.

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