Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2002
Dear Diary:

The spousal unit hobbled out of the doctor's this morning with prescriptions for painkillers, an anti-inflammatory drug and the good news that if he takes it easy for a few days he should be okay.

Whew. You can't imagine how stressed out this has kept me, what with winter still weeks away and all. I mean, if you can't abandon sick or injured family members on an ice floe, what DO you do?

In all my concern about the spousal unit's health, I forgot to mention The Really Important News. Are you sitting down? Do you have smelling salts nearby? Okay ...

This native of Russia is also called Masterwort.  Hello.  Who thinks of these names.I SCORED AN ASTRANTIA PLANT THIS PAST WEEKEND!

O bliss!

O thrills!

And a couple of raptures!

I have been looking for one of these natives of the Caucasus for over five years now, ever since I first saw one on a garden tour.

It's not an expensive plant; they're hard to get because there's not a big demand for them. "How can that BE?" I can hear you saying in utter incredulity since I'm sure you're as overwhelmed by the unique flower as I.

Well, the deal is that you have to come close to see the beauty of the blossom. Most gardeners (myself included) tend to go for the painted floozies of the garden, those over-the-top plants that will burn your retinas out from twenty feet away and so most nurseries don't bother to sell this subtle beauty.


Ah, so which exclusive nursery had the perspicacity to sell such a thrilling and unique plant?

Well, um, er, ah ... well the truth is I was poking around at a ginormous flea market. It wasn't even a fancy flea market. It was the sort of flea market where a velvet Elvis painting would be one of your upscale items. I almost fainted when I saw the lone astrantia jumbled in with other gallon pots of very pedestrian perennials.

I tried to be casual about asking the price. The woman selling it was probably almost crapping herself over the possibility that she actually had someone willing to buy the plant.

We both eyed it.

"I'll sell it to ya for $8."

I wanted to dance. I wanted to kiss this woman. I wanted to snatch that plant up, toss $8 her way and run like the wind. But I couldn't. After all, I had to observe The Laws of the Flea Market. I had to dicker.

First, of course, that would involve The Pregnant Pause. You use The Pregnant Pause to convey to the seller that you could most definitely live without whatever they are selling. Nonchalance. It's all about nonchalance.

"It doesn't look good," I said. It didn't, either. We both knew it just needed water, but we gardeners are a ruthless lot. "I'll give ya $5."

I could see that she clearly yearned to shove the pot in my hands, snatch my $5 and run like the wind herself before I changed my mind. But there were laws she had to observe.

"Look, it only needs watering. I'll give it to ya for $6 but that's the best I can do for ya."

I furrowed my brow. I pretended doubt. If they gave out Oscars for Best Performance At A Flea Market, I'd be in L.A. this year accepting my wee golden man and thanking all the little people who made it possible.

Grudgingly, I counted out three toonies as if I'd seen astrantia every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

She handed me the plant as if she never had a doubt in the world that she'd ever sell it.

I wonder which of us said the words "woo HOO" to herself the loudest as I walked away?


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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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