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Tales of the Flower Pots
by Eleanor Tylbor
by Eleanor Tylbor


Eleanor Tylbor has been a freelance writer and columnist for more than twenty years. A resident of Laval, Quebec, Canada, she began her career as a columnist writing for weekly papers and continues to freelance a column covering local news for “The Chomedy News.”

She has also freelanced articles for Internet sites in addition to providing human-interest pieces for various dailies, and is a monthly contributor to the site, sharing her humorous observations and gardening-angst with gardening aficionados.

She is now into balcony gardening.

Blog The (Somewhat) Complete Gardener

January 23, 2011

Like many gardeners I've accumulated a fair amount of flowerpots of varying sizes and colors over the years. Some hosted dear friends of the chlorophyll-type that have long since gone to nature's equalizer, the "great composter in the sky." The rest were containers for annuals that had outlived their usefulness, being that their exteriors clashed with the latest seasonal color trends of a particular year. At the end of the growing season those no longer serve any utilitarian purpose in the foreseeable future, are stored away in case they are ever needed for...something. In other words, tossed dispassionately under the sun deck where they are out-of-sight, out-of-mind. In their allotted spot they have weathered numerous storms including the really big snowfall of '89, the torrential downpour of '92, in addition to hosting and housing generations of ear wigs, spiders and other insect infestations. Still others cracked up in the true sense of the word, unable to withstand the cold and brutal winters. The truth of the matter is that I'm unable to discard them, give them away or sell any in a garage sale because each and every one of them has a story to tell. We gardeners are a sentimental bunch and change doesn't come easy or often. Right? C'mon - you all know it's true!

In retrospect it would have been so much easier and certainly less traumatic had someone else hosed down the flower pots. However, there was something - call it sentimentality or just plain curiosity - that impelled me to do the dirty work myself. The accumulation of more than twenty years of pots is enough to trigger an acute case of floral melancholia, recalling memories of past summers and their contribution to the overall "look" of the garden...whatever that is.

Cue music - insert, "The Way We Were":

"Memories - like the corners of our mind..."

To the uninformed outsider it may seem like an ordinary, cheap, green plastic container that should have been discarded once the contents were emptied. However (in my stories there's always a "however...") this particular pot with remnants of caked earth stuck to the bottom and the original price sticker barely visible, once contained the most glorious hot pink hybrid tea rose bush.

"Misty water-colored mem-or-ies...of the way we were..."

It was purchased shortly after moving in our house at one of the better gardening centers in our area for $8.99, a luxury in those days considering that the local supermarket was selling rose bushes for $4.99. Visually, it was perfection with swirls of delicate petals forming a perfect circle, and gave off an essence that hinted of godly origins. Being ignorant of the fact that placement is everything in as far as roses are concerned our relationship was brief but beautiful, and it succumbed to the elements in the second year. Discarding this pot would be akin to denying its very existence.

"Could it be that life was oh so simple then..."

Then there's the large sized off-white opaque glass mixing bowl, one of a set of four, with hand painted tulips on the front, used for...tulips. To discard this would be an insult to the relative who generously gave it as a wedding gift, assuming it would be used for normal purposes like mixing cakes and the like. Besides, what would happen if this relative decided to pay a visit and ask if we still used the bowls? Note to self: retrieve bowl from dirt.

"Or has time re-written every line..."

The large plastic saucer with the outline of bird droppings permanently etched on the surface, is a reminder of the pleasure it provided to the birds as a makeshift bath. So many many droppings...

"What's so easy to so hard to for-get..."

Memories are still vivid of the smaller varieties like the bright yellow plastic container that was used to grow some catnip, located on the sun deck. It was the only time that the deck was feline central for every free roaming cat in the neighborhood. The word "stoned" took on a whole new meaning that summer, with visiting cats staggering around the garden and probably returning home - when they left - with glazed eyes...

"Oh it's the laughter, we will remember...the way we were...""

It's obvious that the reluctance to part with them is that my flowerpots are part of the evolution of the house and its inhabitants. Having to part with them is like having to give up a piece of the past. At some point some will have to be sacrificed for the better good, being more storage place required for gardening tools. Then again who knows what next season's color scheme will be. Maybe if they were stored one inside another, there would be more space. Then again, maybe not. Wanna trade?

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