These are the flowers that I bought by the dozen at the Stratford Farmer's Market yesterday morning. I say "by the dozen", because I originally intended to buy ONLY A DOZEN of them.
Sometimes, I have to "plan ahead" to curb my enthusiasm... Otherwise, things get more than a LITTLE BIT out of hand. Usually, this sort of planning involves food items. Most often, chocolate food items.
But on Saturday morning, it was gladiolas. Because there's a fine line with these enormous, spectacular blooms. Too few makes you look as though you skimped on the bouquet. And too many makes your house look as though you might be hosting a funeral sometime soon.
My love of gladiolas came from my great-aunt, who was one of the finest and most diligent gardeners I have ever encountered. She lived alone on her enormous farm long after her husband passed away, and although her fields were rented out, she continued to cultivate her flower gardens and mammoth vegetable patch until she was well into her eighties. She was tiny, my little Auntie, but she was Mighty.
A few years ago, I telephoned her at the farm, and was dismayed when she answered my call sounding more than slightly out-of-breath. I immediately inquired if she was all right, and whether she was feeling faint or tight-in-the-chest.
"Goodness, no, dear," she replied with a laugh, "I just ran in from the garden when I heard the phone-- I've been out there for an hour digging trenches for five or ten more rows of gladiola bulbs!!"
She was sharp as a tack until the day she died at the age of 102, and I think of her bright, cheery spirit every time I see a vibrant, colourful bouquet of "glads", as she used to call them.
But, back to the Market on Saturday...
The girlies and I wandered through the maze of enormous plastic buckets, which were crammed full of gladiola stems, in every colour of the rainbow. There were so many varieties to choose from, but eventually, we carefully selected twelve to take home in a bunch.
We approached the wooden desk, where a tall, thin farmer stood. He greeted my children with a wide, warm smile.
"Leetle girls!!" he said delightedly, in beautiful, Dutch-accented English. "Leetle girls who love FLOWERS!"
"Come," he beckoned to them, "Come and pick some more for YOURSELVES!"
And he allowed my girlies to pick out MORE gladiolas for their very own selves. Then, he carefully packaged the three bunches up in newspaper to make them easier to carry. It was quite a comical sight, seeing as Child Number Three was nearly as tall as the package she was determined to hang onto... with a grin on her face so big, you'd think her round, pink cheeks would split.
I thanked him profusely, and offered to pay for the extra flowers. But the gentleman would have none of it, and simply said, "I like to see people HAPPY."
Glads make people happy.
I knew that.