My husband is a gardener. He loves to garden. It borders on obsession but it produces such great fresh fruits and vegetables that I can’t complain. One year, we had so many cucumbers, I made two gallons of pickles. We have gardened with chickens in Virginia, ordered 2000 red wriggling worms to our tiny apartment in Brooklyn, rebuilt a water garden in Texas and now, in Geneva,have attempted our best diplomacy at the garden center.
We diligently researched garden centers both in Geneva and just across the border in France. I liked one called Botanic (which is in fact in France) simply because their signage was great and they had chosen cool fonts for their website and printed materials. Josh followed up my cursory search and confirmed that Botanic had everything we needed. So, we wandered for at least an hour around a garden center unlike anything I have ever seen- aisles and aisles of planters, pots, trees, shrubs, flowers, water garden plants, animals, organic produce, various home and garden decorations- and all with unbelievably attractive signage.
I knew Josh would love it and I was right. He wandered and planned and dreamed and purchased two planters, several bags of potting soil, a few flowers, lots of seeds, a seed starting kit, tools, and soy sauce (that last one was for a stir fry recipe I wanted to try). We bought it all, signed up for the loyalty card and got to the car only to realize we had a baby, a dog, two adults, two strollers and all of our purchases to fit. If we had our American car (a giant Sequoia that should qualify for statehood), we probably would have fit. However, with our small European SUV which is in fact one of the larger cars on the road here, we could not fit it. I made the executive decision to stay behind with one stroller, one planter, three bags of potting soil and the tools. Josh drove Forest and Crockett and the other items home to Geneva and then he and Forest came back across the border to get me. So while I waited, I unfolded the stroller, had a seat and emailed a few people, namely my sister in law. My email started with “Guess where I am. Did you guess in a stroller in France? Because I am.” It was Good Friday, which is a holiday in France and Switzerland so many Swiss and French citizens were at Botanic and walked by me, an adult in a stroller, playing solitaire on her cell phone while wearing her rain boots and bright blue coat (the Swiss do not wear colored coats). I’m confident I did a great deal of good for the image of all Americans abroad.
Since Friday, Forest and I have gone back to Botanic and bought more gardening supplies. And today, I bought Forest a small set of gardening tools. He kept the watering can on his lap the entire way home from the store and immediately went to the planters to “help.”