They like to call it the “pineapple express” when the jet stream brings warm air and billions of gallons of water from Hawaii and dumps it on us in the Pacific Northwest. With temperatures in the 50s, I don’t mind it at all – it is a big improvement over plain old Pacific Northwest winter rain when the temperatures are in the upper 30s and 40s.
The rain did stop for a few hours the other day and it was quite pleasant outside. My wife and I were inspired to take a drive about 30 or 40 miles south to one of our favorite garden center destinations. My wife was hoping to find a great deal or two in the gift shop, and I was happy just to have a chance to poke around the winter nursery inventory.
This time of year, there really aren’t too many choices. The flower growers haven’t started making their regular deliveries, nor has anyone really, but there is still a fairly broad selection of nursery stock on hand, so I enjoy the hunt as much as anything. I never know when I might find a leftover from last year that has special character or catches my eye in one way or another.
So, there we are, my wife enjoying her hunt for special bargains on indoor decorations, and I’m checking out the outdoor nursery stock. It is very warm out, and we were not the only ones itching to get the gardening season off to a good start. Looking across the sales yard, I noticed someone carefully looking through the conifer section when I recognized my friend, The Flower Girl. <cue nemesis theme music>
Rather than acting on my first thought, which was to call out her name and wave from across the yard, my playfully mischievous side thought it would be a good idea to nonchalantly wander over in her direction without her seeing me. What I didn’t notice from my initial viewpoint was that she is not alone.
“One thing I love about this dwarf conifer is its beautiful blue color - it just can’t be beat.” she told her companion as I quietly moved nearby.
“But don’t these things just get huge and take over the whole yard? Her companion questioned. “And what about bugs? I don’t want a giant tree that will attract bugs!
“But that’s the beautiful thing about dwarf conifers,” my friend said, “they are perfect for the size of your garden – and they really are relatively pest free. Besides, the older, larger ones do provide habitat for birds and other little animals.”
“I’ve heard that somewhere before.” I piped in much to the surprise of my friend, who incidentally seemed just a little embarrassed to have been caught red-handed promoting conifers in my presence.
We went through our normal routine of kidding and then made proper introductions with her friend. Before I made my retreat, she did give me her trademarked punch to my shoulder, which seemed punctuated with an exclamation mark.
I love a good early visit to the garden center. Bargains can often be found and it’s great to visit with the folks there whether they are old friends or strangers – there is just something about gardening that brings warmth to the heart and a connection with others.