Flying Kites Down the Stairs

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 12, 2011 10:32PM

Spring Blooms

Rate: 10 Flag

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 A couple of summers ago, I took a job working at my favorite local Garden Center. As a Nursery School teacher I have the option of teaching summer camp, but decided I wanted a break from kids. This will be my third season tending flowers instead of four-year-olds.
 
My 'summer gig' starts in April. Here in Chicago tulips, daffodils,  hyacinth and ranunculus are the required antidote to long grey winters, and they can't come too early for color-starved gardeners.   This means that during April and May I work weekends while still teaching all week. Although it's physically exhausting, it's also invigorating. 
 
 
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  Working in the garden center, I am surrounded by beautiful blooms and wonderful fragrances.  While I can't afford to plant a field of ranunculus for their short bloom season, I can gaze adoringly at their lovely heads while working, and greedily sniff in the scent of hyacinth wafting through the air. 
 
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 One of the things people love about this Garden Center is the abundant displays. Plants are arranged on tables in masses, and part of my job is the constant replenishing of the pots of plants on the tables from the flats underneath. I also help haul in the flats when the trucks come in, and wheel racks of flats in from the sidewalk at the end of the night. Watering and deadheading take up even more time once the summer annuals come in. Helping customers design their plantings and containers is another part of the job. 
 
 
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While I wouldn't give up teaching permanently, it's nice to have time off from the emotional demands of kids (and their parents.) Working with flowers can be just as messy as working with kids, but I've found that plants will never wipe snots on your sleeve or puke on your shoes.  With plants you can just snip off the funky bits, and if a plant doesn't show the growth you'd expected you don't have to call a conference with its parents. 

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Comments

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I got a great big memory whiff of hyacinth reading this. There are many good aspects to plants, but the not-puking-on-your-shoes one is something I hadn't considered! I have been attacked by rose canes several times in the last few days, but I had my clippers and made them sorry. Wonderful trip to the garden center - let's do it again when the flowers change?
I love your comparison between teaching and tending flowers. More, more!!
These are beautiful pictures. I love gardening centers. I have my own hyacinths in my kitchen and they fill the whole house with their intoxicating aroma.
enjoyed and rated...
What a lovely spring/summer job, Nora. Thanks for showing us the pretty place you get to spend the next few months. I **love** ranunculus, and some growers are here near me. It's incredible to see them in huge brightly colored stripes on the hillsides.
I learned an important lesson working for a landscaper. Dirt is heavy. Lasted two days. Glad you have found some peace amid the sun and sweat. Glad you shared it here. Loverly!
Thank you, Nora. I find just gazing at the new spring color is reinvigorating. Looking at the cherry bloosom trees as they stretch out their branches. They instantly become part of the landscape, and I know where to look for my favorites. Then, all too soon, the fragile blossoms fall. But in the meantime, let us all take a deep breath in and enjoy!
Mumbletypeg - Glad you're holding your own against the rose canes! I need to get out there and do that too, now that the forsythia is blooming.

zanelle - There are many similarities, and both really satisfy the nurturer in me.

Christine - The pics were just from my phone, so not such great quality, but I'm glad I captured the mass of colors. Glad you're enjoying your hyacinth.

Julie - Hi! It is wonderful.

mistercomedy - Glad to see you around. Thanks for reading and rating.

femme forte - How lucky you are to see the ranunculus out on the hillside!

jimmymac - Definitely heavy (and dirty) work. I wasn't sure I wanted to face it again, but the beautiful blooms help.

Pam - Glad you're enjoying the colors and scents of Spring, too. How nice to have the cherry blossoms. I think the temporary nature of these blooms only adds to the pleasure, so savor them while you can!
One of the things I love about that place is that everyone seems so happy. Easy to see why!
Congratulations on the EP! Thanks for sharing the blooms and the wonderfully woven story comparing four-year olds to flowers. Well told and enjoyed.
Nice to hear from you. I'm glad you're back at your favorite bit of garden heaven. This makes me miss my old favorite north side place for plants. I'll have to make a trip north one of these weekends and visit.

We've been enjoying the lovely scene of hyacinths in our yard now that they're blooming. And the tulips are just starting. Yeah!