Distraction #1

When I lived in Boston years ago, I briefly worked for an architectural graphic design firm. One of my jobs was to buy flowers each week for the office—and come back with a receipt. I usually bought them from a florist, but one day I was in Downtown Crossing and decided to buy a bouquet from a flower stand. As I always did, I asked for a receipt. The proprietor didn’t have a cash register and so he gave me a handwritten receipt. It said, “Flowas, $5.00.” Flowas: the Bostonian phonetic spelling.

My flower garden is my primary distraction from smoking (other than eating and sleeping, which are increasingly impinging on my flower time). I actually made a list of every plant in the garden because it was getting close to nightfall and I couldn’t really do anything outside and I needed to do something to distract myself for an hour. I listed more than 50 varieties of flowers, shrubs, and herbs. To further distract myself as nightfall nears, I am typing them out here.

  1. Aster
  2. Astilbe
  3. Baby’s Breath
  4. Basil
  5. Begonia
  6. Bleeding Heart
  7. Blue Geranium
  8. Chives (two varieties)
  9. Climbing Rose
  10. Columbine
  11. Cotoneaster
  12. Coreopsis (several varieties)
  13. Echinacea
  14. Fuschia
  15. Geranium
  16. Hosta
  17. Hydrangea
  18. Impatiens
  19. Japanese Fern
  20. Lady Fern
  21. Larkspur
  22. Lavender
  23. Lilac
  24. Loosestrife
  25. Lupine
  26. Mexican Heather
  27. Monkshood
  28. Mullein
  29. Oregano
  30. Phlox (several varieties)
  31. Pinks (several varieties)
  32. Roma Tomatoes
  33. Rosemary
  34. Russian Sage
  35. Sage
  36. Salvia
  37. Santolina
  38. Shasta Daisy
  39. Snapdragons
  40. Speedwell
  41. Spirea
  42. Stonecrop (several varieties)
  43. Sweet Alyssum
  44. Sweet Woodruff
  45. Thrift
  46. Thyme
  47. Trailing Petunia
  48. Trailing Vinca
  49. Virginia Bluebells
  50. Yarrow

I think I have a couple others but I can’t identify them because they haven’t bloomed yet. All of the plants above comprise four flower beds in a chaotic, unsophisticated cottage garden style. We keep talking about getting rocks to border the biggest plot, and someday we probably will. But for now all I care about is keeping myself busy—weeding, deadheading, whatever—and filling the clay pitcher with fresh wildflowers for as many days as I can.

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