Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery
dr_pretentious

Hyacinths and Bonsai Sequoias

This morning, my sister called me at 9am. Anyone who knows me well will be astonished that one of the people who knows me best would phone me at such an early hour. 3am? Okay, I'm usually still up working then. But 9am? A girl has to get her rest sometime! My sister's diurnal. Up at 5am every day. It's unnatural. Our conversation went like this:

Phone:
Ring! Ring!

Me:
Mmmphle?

Pru:
Morning, Sar!

Me:
Mmmphle.

Pru:
We're on our way to the Philadelphia Flower Show right now.

Me:
You were too sick to go.

Pru:
Yeah, but when I woke up this morning, I was just so disappointed, and Zach said, so call your parents and tell them the plan's back on, so it is. You still want to come. You know you do.

Me:
Made Plan B. Got ask Dan.

Pru:
Cool. So talk to Dan, and when you can form a complete sentence, call back to let us know.

Me:
Can't get to Philly before noon.

Pru:
That's okay, we're still driving through Maryland. We left at 7. But we knew you wouldn't want us to call you at 7.

Me:
Agh. Thanks.

Pru:
Talk to you soon!

Phone:
Click!

Dan:
We can fit it into the day, but only if you get up Immediately.

Me:
Mmmphle.

But, dammit, it was the Flower Show, with Pru & Zach, and my parents, and my six-month-old niece, who just recently learned that if she sticks her tongue out at grown-ups she can make them giggle.

I'd forgotten how the scent of hyacinths fills the exhibit hall. There's nothing like it.

We spent a couple of hours wandering from display to display, watching the gardeners, landscapers, plant society mavens, and florists of the Middle Atlantic trying to outdo one another in lyricism and whimsy. It was surprisingly nice not to have to preserve more than an hour for the vendors' booths, since it's a lean year. (Hazards of self-employment.) Still, we came home with a bunch of heirloom seed packets, one bulb of an ornamental allium, a pair of high-tech gardening gloves, and an uncannily pink succulent. Over dinner in Chinatown, we all took turns sticking our tongues out at Kate in imitation of her new favorite facial expression. It was, withal, an excellent day.

The first year Dan and I went to the Flower Show, we went with my old college friends upyernoz and his wife, mrs. noz. He's a lawyer, and loves a good political fight. When we discovered that there are bonsai cacti, he went to the Bonsai Society's booth and the Cactus Society's booth, to demand to know who had jurisdiction over bonsai cacti. Not surprisingly, each society claimed jurisdiction, and we got the distinct impression that this was a turf war (as it were) that was not new to them.

This year, Dan has notions about taking up bonsai wrangling, but we're holding off on buying all the equipment and books to do it properly. A cousin of mine gave me a kit for germinating and managing a bonsai sequoia from seed. This cousin understands my admiration for willful perversity--could anything be more perverse than growing a bonsai sequoia? I don't know if this will work out, though. Bonsai are so fussy, or at least that's what I hear. You can't really leave town for more than a weekend without kenneling them, or you come home to a keeled-over bonsai. Kenneling. I'm not making this up. There was (is?) a bonsai boutique in New Hope that offered accommodations in a bonsai kennel for trees whose humans were traveling. I don't know if I want to risk becoming a person who could genuinely care which society had jurisdiction over bonsai cacti. But...bonsai sequoia!
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