For the past 13 years I lived in a pleasant renovated chicken coop, next to my landlord’s farm house, with gorgeous waterfalls within walking distance. Ed and his wife Helen allowed me to plant four different flower beds: one circled my home exhibiting Daises, yellow and orange Calendula, white Moon flowers, multi-colored Snapdragons, A sweet William (dianthus:), Forget-Me-Nots, Cone flowers, purple Spiderwort, pink Cleomes, and many colors of Impatiens. Also, light green Solomon’s seal, Lily of the Valleys, orange Touch-Me-Nots and Tiger lilies. A single orange Poppy. Opps, I almost forgot the window box of fanciful-faced Pansies.
A second flowerbed welcomed us home at the entrance of the circular driveway that joined our homes: Tulips, Crocuses, Forgetmenots, Impatiens and several pots of Petunias made me smile. Also, I planted an Azalea bush and Oriental lily. Marigolds accentuating.
The third flowerbed evolved as a rock garden where flagstones provided a walkway along Daisies, a crowd of Day lilies, Phlox, Corn flowers, May Apples and wild Geraniums all taken from roadsides in the wild. The invading Goldenrod I did not allow to take over. Sunflowers grew for a few years when the ants didn’t eat them.
The fourth flower area was shaded by a large maple tree grove at the rear of my home, where I planted more and more myrtle each year I lived there, now a blanket of dainty blue beauty each spring and fall. Adding a few wild white trillium to nature’s design. Of course I weeded often, even around Ed’s home.
When I moved out in March I could not take my snow buried plant containers, nor my moped. When the weather warmed I went back for my few things left behind. I had left on a friendly note despite being evicted because I would not pay the raise in rent due to the continuing freezing pipes and drafts through the walls.
I enjoy planting and caring for flowers so in early May, I felt the need to embellish my new apartment with a few of the flowers that I had planted at Ed’s. They were prolific and would not be missed. So I dug up a few Forget-Me-Nots, Daises, and Calendula. As I was putting them in the back of my moped, Ed drove in, immediately flying off the handle: “Are you taking my flowers? They are not your property!” (None did he buy.)
I calmly reply: “They are prolific and won’t be missed.”
“I don’t care!” he shouts back.
“I’m even willing to come back and help weed your gardens which I did some today.”
” I don’t care!” spit flying out his truck window.
“You don’t need to yell at me,” I say, wanting him to hear of my generosity.
“This is not your property: get out!!”
“I thought we were friendly,” my voice full of sincerity.
“I don’t care!” his red face seeming threatening.
Off I rode with ‘my’ few flowers cradled inside my moped while wondering where “flying off the handle” originated. I learned from googling that it comes from the pioneer days, when hatchets were easily loosened with aggressive use so that the flying ax would make others have to duck unexpectedly. Times when neighbors shared their produce.