Today, I am thankful for the end of the plant sale (finally!).
This evening, under the large shade trees in the Monument Valley Park demonstration gardens, the Horticultural Art Society officially ends this year's annual plant sale with its traditional volunteers picnic.
For many members including me, the plant sale is the only group activity in which we participate. The sale and picnic feel like an annual reunion. We try to remember faces and names (usually unsuccessfully - no matter - we simply reintroduce ourselves).
In a few short hours, we manage to catch up on a year's worth of events - sad and happy - and share gardening successes and mishaps. I tell Elsie my sad story about the aphids attacking the lupines (not unusual, she remarks) and my happy news about the deep red berries growing on the serviceberry bush I bought at last year's sale (I'm letting the birds eat them all).
Tonight's eclectic potluck meal that includes frozen daiquiris made with fresh strawberries and my sushi convinces me that my gardening friends are creative cooks who don't skimp on ingredients (quality and quantity) or flavor. Foremost, however, they're generous, big-hearted people who freely share their knowledge, encouragement, seeds and plants.
And, yes, to S's chagrin, I buy more plants - at virtually giveaway prices, mind you - from the final, final remainders. David, the talented gardener and beneficiary of the plant sale proceeds, is anxious to clear the greenhouse. He encourages us to buy a few more items, promising to give us a very good deal. Well, in my mind, that should do it until next year. I'm already way over budget (though happily so).
As the picnic winds down, S joins the all-guy cleanup crew, folding tables and stacking chairs. I chat with Kathy, Alice and Pauline for a few more minutes. Elsie reminds me that she'll call after she arranges a tour of a private garden in Black Forest. We hug and say good-bye, vowing to do more to stay in touch.
Yes, one year is way too long to wait to share a story or inquire about a friend's health. Life happens too quickly and so unpredictably.
For this blessing, I am grateful.