Sometimes I feel relieved when children return to school, for very selfish reasons. It is easier to shop without them dribbling basketballs in the store aisles. It is calmer without them loudly demanding that mom buy them treats at the checkout counter. And it is certainly less crowded at the mall. Even the Greek philosophers felt this way in ancient times. Some criticized young people as loving luxury, chatting instead of working, having disrespect for their elders, and contempt for authority!
Kids are just kids. They have lots of energy and enthusiasm for their lifestyle which is different from that of their parents and grandparents, SPOILER: Grandparents will forgive their grandkids everything… yours, not so much! Teachers learn to “catch kids being good and genuinely compliment them on that behavior.” At my garden club’s plant sale in the spring I was amazed at the way young people acted. They were truly interested in live plants, which are not digital or even electronic.
For instance, a pre-teen demanded to know if we had rhubarb plants for sale. He had no idea what the plant looked like but his mom wanted some. He bought it for her Mother’s Day present. Two sisters came in to buy plants for a 4-H project, An enormous seventh grader who was also a boxer bought lavender because he loved the smell of it. Of course, then he also thought it might work like mouthwash and so he took a bit and quickly spit it out in the nearest garbage can. You don’t know unless you try.
Growing succulents is my hobby, and I had brought several in small pots to sell. I had harvested them from bigger succulents which I had grown all through the winter. All of them sold, some to other garden club members. A mother came in and bought all the rest for her daughter’s wedding. She was going to plant them in teacups for the bridal table. She said they only had to stay alive until October. I told her they would survive if she didn’t overwater them. Too much water makes their roots rot. I learned this the hard way after rotting many roots.
Local garden sales are not just about buying plants. They are also about sharing growing tips with friends, neighbors and customers. People want to know how much sun and which exposure: north, south, west or east is better for them. Could they overwinter them? We all share past plant successes and failures. We compare color combinations. I noticed that people are happy when they buy plants, and they smile a lot. One motto is: plant with a smile, grow with a giggle.
Vegetable plants are always popular, especially tomato plants. My family has an obsession about tomatoes. We could eat them for every meal of the day but only if they are homegrown. Other tomatoes are like eating round pieces of colored cardboard. They have no taste! Even Rachel Ray advises her TV viewers to eat canned tomatoes when tomatoes can’t be grown in the garden. Recently, I bought some humongous, delicious tomatoes from a man in Chatfield. They had no blemishes and were as big as my hand. They were perfect for this recipe.