Monday, May 27, 2013

The Nursery of Eden

I need to get back to my favorite garden center– Meadowview Farms in Southwick , MA.

I briefly alluded to this plant emporium as the Nursery of Eden in last week’s blog. Yet, even then I knew I hadn’t given the garden center its due.  By the time I left the  aisles and aisles of vegetables and flowers and grasses and herbs – there was even a section dedicated to cacti – all I could think was that the country – no, the world, should run the way this busy business operates.

I got there before 10 A.M. on a weekday, and the place was packed. Cars had already parked past the edges of the paved lot onto the grass. The departing customers pushed carts bursting with splatters of colorful blooms against multi-shades of greenery. Arriving customers frequently offered to take an empty cart as strangers finished loading their trunks with their purchases.

This is my kind of shopping
This air of cooperation continued in the crowded aisles of the open market. No one seemed to mind waiting while a patron picked through geraniums or spikes or vines, visions of a barrelful of blooms dancing in her head. This is a scenario where no one seems to mind lingering a little longer.

Supermarkets don’t rise to this level of consumer congeniality.Big Box Stores sometimes even fall short of basic civility. Their customers weave in and out of aisles more robotically. Even on the cashier line, many glue their eyes to their phone screens or stare at the magazine rack loaded with sensational headlines about celebrity birth, weight, and relationships. Some of the people I’ve stood in line with don’t even talk to the cashier as they check out. They just swipe, punch in a pin number, and go on their way. 

Here at the farm, everyone is smiling! At one point I panned one corner of the vast market to the other to see if I could find a disgruntled face or two. Not a one came into view. There must be something soothing about being surrounded by table after table of blooms, a floor full of larger pots and bushes, and hanging baskets overhead.  Soothing and aromatic, especially through the herbs.

I gathered my usual three varieties of tomatoes: an early bloomer (for its earliness) ,a  plum (for sauce) and a cherry (for snacking mostly right from the vine).  I picked out a colorful array of peppers – all sweet,  and dill and fennel to add to my herbs that came back this spring, after a colder than usual winter. (I wasn’t surprised to see the hardy chives and oregano come back – but the sage, rosemary, marjoram, and even a few sprigs of parsley surprised me. Must have something to do with planting them up against the sunny side of the house.) I decided to try a few Brussels sprouts plants, for the first time (The sign said “easy to grow", though I’ve come to find out they take a lot of pinching back. Time will tell.) Couldn’t resist a small white eggplant either.

In the floral category I decided to go with coral geraniums for the porch flower boxes. Three in each with a touch of silver duster between them.  Yes, that was me holding up the works in the geranium aisle earlier,
I need to get back to Meadowview Farms - for three more coral geraniums. Apparently I miscounted. Chances are I’ll return home with more than those few plants.


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