Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tale of the Lilies

Image credit: Used under permission of GNU license

My dear friend Kelly, the marketing executive, built a fabulous house around the corner from me. As life has a way of doing to us all, half way through the construction phase, she lost her 6 figure a year job due to aggressive takeover when the original owner died. Instead of being able to plant the wonderful gardens that were part of her vision, she was reduced to scrounging sale tables and getting very crafty at how she obtained plants for her yard. Being artistic, she loves beautiful plants even though she has no idea what half of them are. For this technical stuff, she has moi as her personal gardening consultant.

Since we live in the middle of nowhere, there are countless sources for obtaining free plants if you get a hankering for something that grows wild along the fields and ditches. One day she was driving toward town and came to a screeching stop when a the quarter mile stretch of flamboyant tiger lilies blooming like mad along on the roadside came into view. She spun her Jag around and made a beeline for a sheet and her shovel. An hour later her trunk was packed to the gills with free plants and she was off to put something into the some bare areas in her vast vacant beds. The lilies thrived beyond their wildest dreams after she fertilized them and poured water on them daily. Kelly was ecstatic about the success of her ditch digging adventure.

A very talented hairstylist, she put herself through design school by doing hair. Kelly has a salon in her basement that women from miles around discovered and frequent no longer venturing to those higher priced shops in town. This is how she survived her job loss. One wintry day she was chatting with Lisa, while perming her hair, about her interest in gardening. Lisa invited her to join the garden club in town and Kelly jumped at the chance to meet more local women who liked pretty plants. Not only did the salon's business double, but Kelly got to see everyone else's gardens and landscaping.

When the wild daylilies were in full bloom again, Lisa came in for a highlighting touch up. When they walked out to the car together Lisa was admiring a hosta flourishing beside the deck steps. Kelly proudly pointed out her passel of orange lilies across the walk.

"Why those are JUST ditch lilies!" Lisa haughtily exclaimed. Though she didn't say anything in reply and changed the subject, Kelly was fuming inside. Trust me, I heard all about it after dinner. The politics of this particular small town garden club became fodder for our entertainment for years to come. Though I had several times been a featured speaker, I did not have time to join and attend meetings. Time went by and the ditch lily incident was forgotten - once the initial telephone line buzzing slacked off. Kelly weathered the several snide comments overheard at monthly gatherings before winter set in.

The following summer, Lisa arrived for a cut and style while the lowly, undesirable "ditch lilies" were in full bloom. When her designer clogs hit the bottom stair at the entrance of the salon area. She found Kelly around the stair wall cleaning the sink from her just departed client's dye residue. At that precise moment history was made...

"You daylilies are just gorgeous! Were they expensive? That color would be the jazziest accent to my Bloodgood Maple! Where did you get them?" Lisa always talks like that, never letting a person get a word in until she is done with solo act. It is amazing what some good fertilizer and consistent watering can do to a plant that is used to fending for itself! .... And thats the rest of the rest of the story.

1 comment:

Mary Ann Archibald said...

Okay, I'm a huge day lily fan (although I never dig stuff off the side of the road) but I did get a huge batch of gorgeous daylilies from a friend of mine who found them too "common" -- plants like these are worth their weight in gold! I love your story!