Cuttings

The Dead Rack

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRISTOPHER REID

Every Spring, I scout deals at my local garden center. I mostly ooh and aah at the beautiful plants I can’t afford, but one day, I noticed a rolling shelf rack shoved in the corner. It contained battered and broken plants, discounted to 50 cents each. I pondered for a moment what may have caused their misfortune, and I walked away.

I selected some seed packets and headed to the register. Glancing at the cart of the small, elderly lady ahead of me, I saw at least a dozen of those dead-and-dying 50¢ plants. Timidly, I tapped her on the shoulder. “What are you going to do with those?”

With a face that had seen too much Florida sun and blue eyes beaming with sheer wisdom, she smiled and whispered, “I have a beautiful gar-den blooming with plants that would have been thrown away…a little love and gentle tending go a long way.”

I leaned in, bewildered. “Occasionally,” she said, “one is too badly dam-aged, but not often. Oh, and singing while you garden. Singing helps.”

Every Spring since, I look for her in that store, eager to tell her that I, too, now have a yard filled with a rainbow of blooms once doomed for the dumpster. I’ve never paid full price for a plant since our meeting, and I won’t—as long as there’s a Dead Rack.

—By Lynn Perry of Merritt Island, FL.

This article was published originally in 2022, in GreenPrints Issue #129.


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