I’ve been on the lookout for a “Happy Place” ever since we moved. You know, kind of a Lake Ella or a cool pool whose only visitor is you, or a trail along the serene canopy boardwalks at St. Simon’s island where Lois and I rode bikes together on the 4 Oaks Women’s Retreat. I wanted a place where I could go and enjoy, as Chris Rice puts it, “My Cathedral.” A pond, a stream, a field, but definitely – DEFINITELY – someplace warm!!
My new happy place is the greenhouse at Merrifield Garden Center – a nursery around the corner…
It is warm (82 degrees, to be exact), and lush. As soon as I walked in, I was stopped in my tracks by the sweet smells of blossoming flowers, plants, and herbs. Ferns, palms, and orchids tangled themselves among one another and reached upward, downward, and outward in glorious greens and vivid other colors. It was a tropical paradise, just one block from our house! They had baby Venus Fly Traps and Hibiscus plants. They carried tulips and daffodils and lemon grass and lavender. Basil, marjoram, fennel, parsley, and flowering plants I’d never seen before. Ah, sweet smells and solitude among creation! Though I was not alone in the greenhouse, simply taking a few steps led me into the thick of it, leaving me surrounded by leaves, stems, and vines. The dampness in the air, combined with the just-right warmth and thick, lush foliage drowned out the noises of the highway and the sounds of other patrons’ voices.
I told the guy who was sweeping that I was moving in. He said, simply, “okay.”
Mike and I went there to buy some herbs, though I was like a child with a sweet tooth on the cereal aisle: “Mike, look at this flower – isn’t it BEAUtiful??” or “Mike, this one looks like velvet. Doesn’t it look like velvet? I want this one!”
I’ve never seen a flower as beautiful as I do now, after my first winter. It is renewing.
Mike and I only bought three herbs to start with – rosemary, basil, and chives. When we got home, Mike taught me how to transfer our little plants into bigger pots – how to mix the fresh soil with the fertilizer, how to remove the fragile herbs from their starter pots, how to pack the soil just enough, and water them the right amount. After discovering my happy place, and enjoying weather above 40 degrees, I was primed for a great time doing this, and I had a blast! It is such a good feeling to learn how to take care of a new plant, and know that we will eventually be able to use these when cooking! Basil on my front porch! Wow…
Mike snapped some pictures of me giddily potting our new herbs. Take a look:
The lighting reminded me of that pre-dusk golden light that would filter through our family room window in Port St. Lucie. I would be lying on the plaid couch after school, half-snoozing and smelling dinner cooking, and watching the shafts of light sneak through the faded cream curtains as the dust danced in the spotlight. That kind of light is another kind of happy place for me.
Spring is teasing us, because tomorrow’s low is 27 degrees. But it’s coming; I can feel it. Tonight was a good night…