Real or Memorex – Part Deux
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An Old Woman's Daydream

category_bug_journal2.gif There are days when you have no idea what gets into you.

At the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Monument Square last week, I had no intention of buying a plant, only fruit and vegetables. Then I saw some hyssop, an aromatic herb that is on my list for next year when I turn the deck into what will be primarily a fragrance garden.

He was crammed into a tray with other herbs, sad looking and potbound. Hyssop is among my favorite fragrances so I decided we could exchange favors: I would give him a better home and he could share his astonishing aroma with me a year before I expected it.

Early that afternoon, I tended to the other garden plants, gave them all some water, sprayed their leaves, picked off debris and then potted up hyssop into a container large enough for his roots to spread out. When I sat back to admire my handiwork, the oddest little drama took place.

NEWBIE IN THE GARDEN - a play in one act
Cast of Characters - in order of appearance













PLACE: The second-floor deck of a home near the bay in Portland, Maine
TIME: Summer, in the temporary shade of early afternoon

RED: Hey, Pink…

BIG PINK: Who ya talkin’ to, Red? There’s two of us, ya know.

RED: Well, I wouldn’t be talking to the little guy, now would I?

LITTLE PINK: Aw, come off it, Red, why do you have to be like that? What difference does it make if I’m smaller than Big Pink?

RED: You’re not small, Pinkie, you’re puny - puny by comparison and…

BIG PINK: Watch your tongue, Red, and mind your manners. We have a newcomer among us. (addressing Hys) Welcome to the garden, young fella. Do you have a name?

HYS: Uh, well, mister, they called me Hys 2 on the farm where I come from.

RED: (dismissive) That’s not a proper name. Why is there a number in your name?

HYS: Um, I guess it’s because I was second in the row of hyssop I was born into, ma’am.

BIG PINK: Well, you’re no number two now, young fella. We’ll call you just Hys. Is that okay with you?

HYS: Oh, that would be very nice. Thank you, sir.

RED: Just a minute, Pink. It is I who gets to do the formal naming here. My beauty entitles me to…

LEM: (interrupting) Red, dear, perhaps you could tone down the ego a tad, at least for Hys’s first day in the garden. He’s already understandably nervous and we don’t want to make it worse for him.

HYS: Oh, it’s okay. I don’t…

BIG PINK: Lem’s right. Let’s go around the garden and introduce ourselves one at a time. I, Hys, am called Big Pink. It’s me you come to if Red is…

RED: (raising her voice) If Red what, Pink? What are you saying? How dare you imply…

MISS MELLIE: Please, please. Can’t we all just get along. This bickering is so unseemly.

PARS: (weakly) Hear, hear.

LITTLE PINK: They call me Little Pink, Hys. When you’re settled in, I’ll tell you about the butterflies. And the bunny rabbits.

RED: Pinkie, your brain is as puny as your size. There aren’t any bunny rabbits here.

BIG PINK: Give it a rest, Red.

HYS: Oh, I’ll look forward to those stories, Pinkie – er, I mean Little Pink.

THYME: Hello, Hys, I’m Thyme. You’ve arrived late in our high season and even Red knows better that to pressure you to perform too much this year. Give me some time with you - that’s an herb joke, Hys - and I’ll help you study for next spring when you’ll be expected to stand tall and strong.

HYS: Heh, heh, heh. Good joke, ma’am. I hope you’ll have some more of them for me in study class.

ROSIE: Hello, Hys. I’m Rosemary…

RED: Oh, get off your high horse, Rosie. No one’s ever called you that.

BIG PINK: Stop that, Red, you’re becoming tiresome.

LEM: I’m pleased to meet you, Hys. Welcome to our garden aerie. I hope you’ll like it here.

HYS: Oh, I like it already, ma’am.

LAVENDER: Well, it’s not like you can move across town if you don’t, is it? I am Lavender and I don’t think we should be quite so close together, you and I. You’re scent gets in the way of mine.

RED: Hah! Too bad, Lavender. Like you said, there’s not much you can do about moving to another spot in the garden.

HEDY: Point well taken, Red – and you too, Lavender - Hys is a bit overpowering, even from up here on this fence post. (to Hys) I’m Hedy, Hys, and it won’t be long before I’ve twined myself all the way to the roof – a height that Red, in her arrogance, can only dream of.

RED: Shut your mouth, Hedy. Nothing you do can match my glorious color.

BIG PINK: Ladies, ladies. Let’s not scare off young Hys on first day in the garden.

RED: Well, she started it and…

HEDY: Hmmph. Hys, listen to me. It’s not gaudy blooms you want. It’s stretching out, moving up, reaching for the sky. That’s what life is all about.

HYS: If I may say so, ma’am, I know what you mean – sort of. But for me, it’s in the other direction right now. My feet were hurting, all cramped up where I was before and it feels so good to stretch them out and wiggle my toes.

MISS MELLIE: That’s nice, Hys. Very nice for you. Welcome to the garden. You seem like a polite, young fellow. I look forward to watching to grow up.

HYS: Did you notice, ma’am, I already have my first bloom?

RED: You hear that, Hedy? His bloom. He said bloom.

HEDY: But he’s also stretching out his feet and by tomorrow morning he’ll be reaching for the sky too.

BEGONIA: (slow, deep, booming voice) Enough! All of you. Hys, we are pleased to have you join us. You have a long life ahead of you and…

PARS: (interrupting as Begonia’s voice wakens him from his meditation) Hello, son. Was it Hys you’re called? I don’t hear as well as I once did. I’m old, you know, my day is almost done and I’m preparing to go home to Gaia… (his voice trails off)

BEGONIA: And we’re all here to help you get there, old man, when you’re ready. Now, everyone, let’s give Hys a rest. It’s been a liberating day for him, but stressful too and he needs some time to get comfortable with us. We’ll take a couple of quiet hours now until Sol shows his face again from the other side of the garden. Welcome home, Hys.



Oh, this is delightful, Ronni! I won't look at my geraniums and herbs quite the same way again.

I printed this out and took it outside where I like to drink my morning tea. I also like to read out loud and this drama created a crescendo of noise in my back yard. My rosemary felt that Red had been rude to her cousin Rosie and Lavinda, my lavender plant said she was glad she graced the patio table away from Rosemary, whose fragrance can be overpowering. Basil woke up and said, "Bellas, (he has such a wonderful Italian accent), finito with your jabberings; I am king of herb scents..." Geez, Ronnie, I guess I will have to read your one act plays in the quiet and comfort of my upstairs loft from now on!

Marti who loves to talk to her herbs

I worry about Ronni and some of her readers; but, it makes for enjoyable reading. Thank you!

The only think that concerns me about this delightful play ACT ONE is what happens to all the characters when ACT TWO arrives with the villain:


Will they all survive the icy blasts and snow? Will they have to sojourn inside near a sunny window.? Can they coexist with Ollie and his keen sense of smell?

ACT TWO ?????

I'm surprized that Lem is the peacemaker in your garden. In mine he's a selfish bully who takes up all the room

"Ronni in Portland" - the sequel to "Alice in Wonderland":

"O Tiger-lily,' said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, `I wish you could talk!'

`We can talk,' said the Tiger-lily: `when there's anybody worth talking to."

Alice was so astonished that she could not speak for a minute: it quite seemed to take her breath away. At length, as the Tiger-lily only went on waving about, she spoke again, in a timid voice -- almost in a whisper. `And can all the flowers talk?'

`As well as you can,' said the Tiger-lily. `And a great deal louder.'

`It isn't manners for us to begin, you know,' said the Rose, `and I really was wondering when you'd speak! Said I to myself, "Her face has got some sense in it, thought it's not a clever one!" Still, you're the right colour, and that goes a long way.'

`I don't care about the colour,' the Tiger-lily remarked. `If only her petals curled up a little more, she'd be all right.'

Alice didn't like being criticised, so she began asking questions. `Aren't you sometimes frightened at being planted out here, with nobody to take care of you?'

`There's the tree in the middle,' said the Rose: `what else is it good for?'

`But what could it do, if any danger came?' Alice asked.

`It says "Bough-wough!" cried a Daisy: `that's why its branches are called boughs!'

"The Daisies all began shouting together, till the air seemed quite full of little shrill voices. "Silence, everyone of you!" cried the Tiger-lily, waving itself passionately from side to side, and trembling with excitement. "They know I can't get at them!" it panted bending its quivering head towards Alice, "or they wouldn't dare to do it!"

"Never mind!" Alice said in a soothing tone and , stooping down to the daisies, who were just beginning again, she whispered "If you don't hold your tongues, I'll pick you!"

There was silence in a moment, and several of the pink daisies turned white.

"That's right!" said the Tiger-Lily "The daisies are the worst of all. When one speaks, they all begin together, and its enough to make one wither to hear the way they go on!"

Well, don't I just feel like a No. 1 jerk. If I'd remembered that section from Alice in Wonderland, I'd have included a notation, "with apologies to Lewis Carroll." So, consider it noted.

This is just too cool! Keep at it ladies! This is great summer fun... I will have to think long and hard to keep up.

This gives new meaning to flower power!

Ronni, I will keep my fingers crossed that Hys likes his new digs!

This is really cute. I have a gardener friend who will love it.

Uh-oh. Now Ronni is imagining her plants talking... ;^)

Part II could be about the visit of the dreaded bunnies. They've decimated parts of my garden this year, but the herbs seem to be holding their own.

PS - I love Ronni's flowers' conversation better than Alice's.

Oh-h-h-h! I love this flight of imagination ... look forward to more such trips to augment some I've created for myself.

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