While it seems difficult to comprehend, it appears that the primrose garden of the local plant market scene has been infiltrated by the ugly crabgrass of petty politics. At the sale today - our first of the year - Larry and I learned from several grumbling vendors that bad feelings between the head of the local master gardener's club and the organizers of today's event resulted in garden sale gutter tactics. In a mean-spirited move, the master gardeners moved their three-day sale up to compete with ours. A three-day-sale in town is nothing to sneeze at and hard to compete with. So while we got good crowds they weren't nearly what we'd expected.
Long story short, while we did well we came home with more plants and less cash than we'd anticipated.
But don't feel sorry for us. Our family is not the type to let a bunch of Evil Master Gardeners ruin our day. Far from it. The first plant sale is always fun regardless of conditions, and when the weather is perfect and you get to catch up with people you haven't seen since last summer you can only stay grumpy for so long. All of our old friends were there, and we made some new ones.
The plants were just beautiful and fragrant - the breeze blowing past the herb vendors carried the scent of lavendar and rosemary past our booth all afternoon. And there were so many fabulous crafts - mosaics, elaborate birdhouses, stained glass - I was in awe.
The sale is held annually on the grounds of a historic antebellum homestead complete with a big southern mansion. Our booth was on the front lawn, facing the front of the house. The back of the house is equally magnificent and the property holds perfectly restored buildings including a barn full of old-fashioned farming equipment, a smokehouse and a coop containing some of the quaintest looking chickens I've ever seen. Lucas and John enjoyed feeding them, and I fell in love with one little bantam rooster that was so spoiled by visitors he ate bread right out of our hands. The chickens were just part of the fun for John, who enjoyed walking around the grounds and helping out at the table. He was in a great mood today and it was nice to see him so content despite being around so many people. Crowds usually make him nervous.
Alex and Lucas were thrilled to see the kids of our gardening friends. Like the plants, they'd shot up since last year. Conner was there, and Lilly. We were especially delighted when Kai, who is in Alex's reading group, arrived unannounced. And a new vendor brought her daughter, an delightfully precocious 8-year-old actress named Katie who could cry on cue. Alex was enchanted by her and soon she and Katie had convinced the other children they needed to make their own movie. It started out as a love story until the boys changed the plot and it turned into a horror sci-fi film, with Kai as the mad scientist and Conner as Spiderman. When they grew bored with that they ran around in the field behind the house, which delighted Lucas who followed as fast as his little legs could carry him. I was able to get them together in the swing for a group shot. It'll be nice to look back at it next year and see how much they've all changed.
Now that we're packed up and back home, the kickoff to market season has us high-spirited and optimistic, even though we didn't bring home copious amounts of cash. Plant people are fun to be around and even if you aren't guaranteed lots of sales, you're always guaranteed lots of pleasant company. Excluding, of course, Evil Master Gardeners.
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