Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rite of Spring

The pansies are lying limp-dicked in the window boxes, a situation that created a not small amount of tension between me and the prince last night.

We were sitting on the sofa watching the boys perform on American Idol, (also the source of several other arguments though we'll scarcely touch on them here) when during one of the interminable commercial breaks, he announced that Frager's, our local hardware store, had just received a shipment of spring plants. And not just Frager's, Home Depot had them in as well.

This is an annual announcement that I dread, because it heralds the beginning of the six weeks that preseed (oooh I like that spelling error!) the last frost date.

It's a period, like that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the stores are prematurely anticipating warmth and flowers and BBQ's and swimming and we're still huddled in down jackets half the time and hunting twigs from the streets to supplement the dwindled supply of firewood.

And each year my chosen one buys it, choosing to believe them over me. Oh bad move. So he will have to be carefully watched because it is now that he gets puffed with inspiration and starts meddling in my sandbox, moving the tropical plants out before it's safe and nudging me to get the still half-frozen garden ready for the mosquitoes. We now commence a period of intense and near constant aggravation when he will be frequently courting death.

So we begin.

"Can we get some pansies for the window boxes?" he said. "I hate looking at the dead stuff."

"They're not dead," I said, calmly enough. "Everything's fine." (Except, I must note, for whatever's fake--there's always something fake in my gardening. I decided long ago that fake amuses me; a convenient decision since in various spots fake is the only thing that will grow, or that I can get to grow. "Fake doesn't grow you know," whispers one of my little voices in a particularly sing songy irritating fashion. Oh...shush.) 

"It all looks dead to me," he said. "It's depressing. Can't we get some pansies?"

"We have pansies, and they will be very perky probably by this weekend when it will be 50ish. They're just droopy because they're cold and need a little water," I said.

"They look like shit," he escalated, skinny Irish nose beginning to pinch. "I want new ones."

Pause to watch show. The other Lambert appears and we agree that he's adorable, though I am compelled to add that he also looks like someone who'd be hiding a rifle in his school locker. "Why? because he's from the midwest?" his baldness asks. (If that sounds testy it's because the unsaid second part of that sentence would be "and you're from New York CITY." As I said, unsaid, but said.)

Commercial over.

"We don't need new pansies," I resume. "The reason I plant them in the fall is so they can develop strong roots and really take off in the spring."

"But the ones at Frager's are bigger and bushier."

"They are now, but give ours a few warm days and they'll be great. Except for one of the upstairs boxes that someone forgot to water...."

Pause for guilt trip.

"...but as soon as the snow melts in the back yard I can take some from there and fill in," I conclude.

"If we get more how long will they last?" he said, ignoring me.

"What part of this is not being understood?" I said, "We do not NEED new pansies, our pansies are FINE. As soon as the sun shines they will perk up."

"But I don't like dead things and the one's at Frager's look so nice..."

"Sha! The show's back on."

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