One of the special events that mark the advent of spring for me is the annual “Fuchsia Saturday” a local retailer hosts, either in late March or early April. All of the Fred Meyer stores, part of the larger Kroger chain, invite the public to bring their potting containers from home, buy plant seedlings, and line up while employees proceed to fill the various baskets and pots with soil and plants. I don’t know if this event is confined to the Northwest, but the day is celebrated with a sense of anticipation—winter is over and spring may be on the horizon.
Customers can be seen driving into the parking lot, grabbing a shopping cart, and after popping their trunks open, lifting containers of every size and shape imaginable from their vehicles. They push their carts to the garden area for seedlings and then on to the checkout stand for the free soil.
The event is social in nature. People swarm the racks of flower offerings, looking for a certain fuchsia start or a geranium color. Reading the tiny tags on the two-inch pots can be tedious. Gardeners wander from rack to rack, matching colors or varieties, often noting loudly when they find a plant of a certain name, drawing other shoppers to the trays.
One husband I saw in the garden center appeared to have been designated the tray holder for his wife. He stood in the center of the plant racks, balancing a cardboard flat while his wife carried the flower starts to him. He called her, “I found some more Miss California starts over here.” Three women, plus his wife, zeroed in on the tray and within minutes emptied the flat of its flowers.
When the purchases are completed and the pots filled, the customers push their shopping carts back to their waiting vehicles and reload the trunks with their treasures. With them they carry hope, not only of bright blossoms, but of a renewal of life in the coming growing season.
In the book of Song of Solomon, chapter 2:11-13, the writer speaks of the change of seasons. (NKJV) “For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, The time of singing has come.”
Thinking of spring makes me want to sing. Does it you?