Sow There!, Stop and smell the Daphne, if you have time 2-7-2020

The Daphne odoro is blooming on the south side of Laxson Auditorium in Chico. This beauty loves winter and usually blooms around Valentine’s Day. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)
February 7, 2020 at 

CHICO — Alternate adventures caused me to miss the Chico seed swap last month. When I wrote a column about the esteemed event, I knew I would not have time to attend. Instead, I made plans for a mother/daughter seeds swap, but Mom forgot.

I wrote about my disappointment in my column, partially because my mother has a great sense of humor, and realistically to light some fire under her credit card.

After the article was printed, my mom sent a text and said she had purchased some amazing organic seeds online. She was ready to share, she said with spring-like optimism.

Did she read my column, in which I made fun of her for forgetting? She said this was not the case.

However, my faith in the power of the pen has been renewed.

It would have been fine either way. I don’t really have time to plant seeds right now.

Life happens. You make a promise to yourself or someone else, and then you run out of time.

These past two weeks have been hectic but joy-filled. Forty-six travelers are in Chico from 23 different countries. My job is to be something of a mother hen – I help them get to the places they need to go and try to tell them interesting things along the way. I’m teaching conversational English, reserving classroom space, taking tours of Sacramento and San Francisco, and snapping a boatload of photographs. One day I’m helping to navigate American idioms, another minute we’re shopping for cell phones. The job has reminded me that when you’re busy/busy, and when the job is fun, it feels like the paycheck is just a bonus.

The downside is that I missed two weeks without writing a column. Thank you to the two readers who wondered why they had not spotted my name in print.

While I hate to neglect my two-person fan base, please understand that I also have not shaved my legs or paid my rent. I even had to decline a walk in the park with a handsome new friend. Other tasks undone include pruning my grapevines, checking for snails or managing the weeds that drop early seeds.

My great hope is that once the international travelers return home (and before more arrive), I’ll have time to drop my mother’s seeds into soil.

I did, however, stop to smell the Daphne.

This pink and white flower is from the Daphne odoro which, when blooming, makes for odiferous event. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)

Each time I proclaim a plant as my favorite, I happen upon a new attraction that provokes a new proclamation. On this particular day I had delivered 22 teachers of English to a bus stop for their return to a local hotel. As I walked what may have been the 37th mile for the week (officially logged on my pedometer), I reacted to an odiferous event.

It’s February. Of course the Daphne odoro is blooming. This beauty loves winter and usually blooms around Valentine’s Day. Workers have recently pruned the rose bushes at the Chico State campus, so I naturally stopped to smell the Daphne, which grows inconspicuously at the south end of Laxon Auditorium.

Now that I’m a teacher, I naturally want to share what I know with others. Soon after I was sniffing, a woman wandered by and stuck her nose in my business as well. We shared a brief moment, and I remembered there was a list in my head of other things to do.

Valentine’s Day advice

A splurge for a dozen red roses may be the traditional lover’s day gift. However, I seriously question the roots of this trend. Could it be that FTD and other florists did some math and decided that roses could fetch the biggest mark-up in price?

How dare I be cynical about a day dedicated to love!

Or maybe I just don’t love roses when they are so shamelessly contained. The delicate appeal of roses should be gathered and enjoyed one gentle flower at a time.

A better gift is a plant that is living, not snipped then shipped in environmentally-detrimental cold containers, only to begin a quick decline that results in brown petals on the coffee table. Giving a live plant means your token of love can literally grow.

It might be too late to track down a Daphne odoro plant (although kudos to any kind suitors who will try). Yet, you can easily find forced bulbs of fragrant freesia and sunny daffodils. Bulbs can be saved and planted again. Avoid tulips, which are really just a one-shot in our climate. Other favorites might include kalanchoe, a succulent that will live for years but likely never bloom again.

Better yet, I’ve spied huge bags of bulbs in the big-box stores, which are ready to plant now. Any guy intent on making a move could score points by showing up with a bag of bulbs, a trowel and a promise to get down and dirty.

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