|By Divine Ms. Moon|
I was sitting on a bench in the shade in the botanical garden today when a busload of tourists arrived. "Oh, lordy," I said, much to the amusement of the man who was walking through the shade garden at the time. "If you move quickly," he said encouragingly, a sly look in his eyes, "maybe you can beat them."
And maybe not. They caught up to me right outside the kitchen garden. To be fair, they cheated and went both ways around the old house. I tried to concentrate on the hosta flowers ahead of me and braced myself for the onslaught of ooh-ing and ah-ing.
"Ooh," said one of two women who approached where I was standing, "those are tall." "They certainly are," I replied genially, although inside I was flinching, "I have never seen hosta flowers tall enough to look in the eye." "Oh," responded the second woman, "those are just Krossa Regal. I have a ton of them in my garden, but I hate those flowers, so I cut them all off." "The other woman said, "Krossa Regal, yes, that's right."
As turned to watch them continue their way down the path, I began to wonder just who these tourists might be. After a while, I met another group, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over a mass of short blue flowers along the path in the wedding garden. "Periwinkle," one said. "Nope," said another, confidently. "Geranium -- probably Himalyan." Oh, really, I said, quietly to myself, and a bit skeptically. But on the other side of the garden, I found the marker near another mass of the same flower. "Geranium himalayense," it read. I realized then, I was in the presence of some not-so-ordinary, elderly garden tourists.
I paused for a while on the bench overlooking the knot garden to review the photos I had already taken. When I looked up, I noticed an obvious shot in front of me that I had, nevertheless, never seen before. The focus was tricky, so I had to fiddle with it for a while, and when I had finally gotten what I thought I wanted, I picked up again and walked toward the pergola overlooking the lily pond, where two of the tourists were now sitting, eating their lunch. They invited me to sit and continued to eat.
I asked where they were from. They named a city about 80 miles from here. "Ah. Garden club?" I asked cautiously. "Well, yes," said one of the women quietly, "Master gardener club." And then I knew exactly why they weren't behaving like the ordinary, casual garden visitor. I was impressed and appropriately humbled.
"Getting any interesting shots?" asked the other woman after we had talked for a while about the house and the garden and what gardens there were to see in their city. "Actually, yes," I said, pointing vaguely back toward the place from which I had just come. "I found that if you sit on that bench and look down toward the knot garden through the fence, you can get a pretty interesting shot." "May we see?" one of the ladies asked. "Of course," I replied, and turned on my viewfinder, dialing to the photo above. They both looked at if for a moment, and then both glanced around the garden, seemingly puzzled. After another moment, one of the women said, "That's beautiful, but where did you find the stained glass?"
Exactly, I said to myself. And I was so relieved to learn that I knew at least one thing that those master gardeners didn't. I hope to be one of those myself, someday, and then I will know for sure what now I just think I know.