Winter has been especially brutal this year, according to the scuttlebutt around here. The poor weather has been the reason for the lack of stories recently. There was just nothing to report as the rain came down and the cold lingered for far too long this year. But eventually the seasons turn, as I knew they would. Convincing my maker of that and trying to raise her spirits has been a full time job this spring. But on Friday, finally, she smiled, put on a skirt, and took Abbot and I to the most beautiful garden center in the world. I jumped out of the car and took in the glory of the surroundings.....pots, plants, dirt, flowers, trees, yard ornaments, they had it all to explore. I climbed into the first planter I saw, right under the "open" sign at the entrance to the center.
Abbot couldn't climb nearly as high as I could and pushed some pots around to make a sort of stairway into the iron planter he liked. He blended right in with all the green ware, under the sign in which the street names were painted. We both donned our garden hats, Abbot with a giant flouncy one, and I going for a more classic style. We also wore our gardening aprons to keep us clean of dirt. Mine was legitimate, with pockets for seeds and tools. Abbot wore a vintage napkin tied with a snappy red chord. He didn't know the difference, and that's just as well, let me say.
Although we loved the beautiful plants and flowers, we were more excited about climbing in and out of pots. And running from the bugs. Abbot's friend Stanley 2, the cockroach that never leaves his pocket, escaped for a brief hour and made friends with some interesting bugs....centipedes, worms, beetles, and slugs. A bee tried to fly in to check out what was happening, but Stanley 2 cowered and made his way back into Abbot's pocket. Stanley then regaled us with his stories about the bugs and how no one understands them. They apparently live in constant fear of shoes. While Stanley 2 was on the prowl, Abbot and I catapulted ourselves into this planter using a rake, a garden hose, and a lucky step by one of the garden workers......well, it was lucky for US anyway. Not too sure about the garden worker. She went off running, holding her bloodied nose. The planter was high up so we could see all around. It was a good thing Stanley 2 returned to us because we simply could not find him.
The sunshine was glorious. I basked in this bright yellow pot while Abbot took in the rays on the bench. Our maker was off collecting an armful of plants she would later bring home and place in the soil.
There was so much to see! We enjoyed strolling arm in arm like old friends in a Hollywood movie, smiling at all who passed us by. Some of them walked briskly past us, assumingly frightened. We didn't know why.
All at once Abbot's hat blew off his head and we chased it like it was being pulled on a string by a silly jokester. Every time we reached for it, the wind took it again, and again, until....oh no....right into the pond. It lay atop the water like a lily pad, its felt flowers slowly taking in the water. I ran to my maker who had her arms full of plants, and yanked on her skirt. She dropped everything, and there was quite a commotion, and quite a few stares, as I thought I heard someone cluck and say, "Why can't people control their children?" I tried not to care. Abbot's hat was sinking in the abyss and I certainly couldn't go fish it out! I pulled on my maker's skirt, urging her to come and see. When she saw the hat in the pond slowly descending she grabbed a stick, leaned against the rocks, hovering the water, and fished the hat out just as it was about to sink. She shook it off and it dried quickly. Abbot and I then sat patiently by the pond. There were 2 beautiful mermaids perched on the rocks by the waterfall. They didn't have any clothes on, however, and Abbot was too bashful to say hello. I said hello, but when they didn't answer, or MOVE, I realized they were only statues, and my lifelong dreams of meeting a real mermaid were in vain.
My maker made her final purchases of succulents and herbs, and placed them carefully in the car. We posed for this one last portrait, a portrait for an afternoon well spent in the outdoors. Welcome spring. We are so glad you finally came. You are always worth the wait.
Until next time.
A very special thank you to Blumen Gardens, Sycamore, IL. By far the most beautiful garden center in the world. If you're ever in the area, it is worth the stop.