I traveled the area today looking for ‘what to plant’ around my home. It is a mystery, though nothing to do with murder, how after I see the same plants repeatedly in different garden centers, I am better able to visualize their import for my garden. Repetition works as well when I am learning new material; I read the material once, then again, and by the third time read, it is mine. And that’s how I felt about the plants I visited. I learned which ones were to be mine.

Step number 1 above allowed me, as if I were an artist, to see color, height, fullness, sun vs part-sun vs shade and decide what to buy for where I wished to plant. Well, I had my ideas and they changed by the minute. Finally I was left with the big decision: annuals vs perennials. Using annuals for their vividness in color and their great variety is so tempting, but also a bit more expensive as they are replaced yearly. Perennials are an investment in my garden’s future, but make no mistake about it; you maybe plant once, but you cut back and weed regularly.

My decision making was corrupted by my usual behavior when I visit a bookstore or two or three. I also walk around and look at color. I also wonder about how I feel on a particular day. Do I need ‘warm and fuzzy,’ or perhaps ‘Murder and Sociopaths,’ or perhaps ‘an uplifting biography,’ or perhaps ‘historical analysis.’ Sometimes I walk around the bookstore counter clockwise after walking clockwise. Why do I do that? It is a process that gives my brain time to synthesize ‘what do i really want to read this week or today.’ If there is classical music playing, then I’m more likely given to buy mystery. I don’t know why. Playing rock-n-roll gives me license to read history. Definitely I think these choices are likely only mine.

If I were to compare a book choice with a plant choice, then I think philosophy and history are more like a perennial plant that may be referred to year after year whereas the ‘warm and fuzzy,’ although often packaged colorfully, is an annual and just for today or this week. As to choosing ‘mystery,’ for me, it is always a comfort.

I felt such joy today out in the fresh air viewing the plethora of beautiful plants and flowers. It is exactly how I feel when I visit a bookstore. However, my libations do change based on the setting. I am more likely to be drinking spring water at the garden centers and decaf cappuccino at the bookstores. What can i say; the fresh air makes me choose a healthier drink.

K. B. Pellegrino, Author

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