Vegetative Growth and Other Modern Absurdities

I know. I know. It IS completely oxymoronic, even moronic, to bemoan the technology of the age while blogging on a computer- But sometimes I do wonder where this is all going.

At a soccer game on Saturday night, I sat next to a college student who clutched two iphones, one in each hand, one of which connected to an ear piece in his ear. I tried to keep my eye on the game but felt a sick fascination at someone who could do so much communicating and apparently make sense, though I must say that the conversation he was having with the 3D person to his right had a sort of autopilot feel, and I don’t think he was noticing the fine points of the game. Nonetheless, he had so many cutting edge communication mediums in play, my head was spinning. And frankly, it was already spinning from an afternoon I’d spent sorting out an enormous collection of Flower catalogs a friend gave me.

As you can imagine, decorating our packages with photos of Flowers requires a lot of photos. When a friend who runs a vegetable and flower stand offered to give me their farm’s outdated wholesale catalogs, I was delighted. During the drop off of this mother load of catalogs, my friend Sarah told me of her consternation about a convention for garden businesses that she had just attended. She reported that the marketing workshops had been beyond frightening. Apparently using designer names for all new hybrid Flowers and vegetables is all the rage.

Just what the world needs, Gucci parsnips.

When I sat down to leaf through all the catalogs, I got the drift. And fast. First, there were virtually no Flowers in the catalogs that I recognized. It wasn’t just the cutesy names like Sweet Carolina Bewitched or Molimba Mini Frizzle Pink that threw me off identifying what was being sold, but the hundreds of pages of glossy shots of Flowers I had never seen in any garden. I even noticed no one calls them Flowers anymore, these species were all referred to as “vegetative growth.”

Personally, I have always enjoyed imagining folks sending their sweethearts bouquets of “vegetative growth.”

I guess those who carry two iphones stay better in touch with what is happening in the agribusiness world than me, because everything I was looking at reminded me of a GM production line. And sounded like it too.

Here are a couple of bullet points from these catalogs and I quote:

“Goal: Provide growers with bulked up, performance-charged, ready-to-go-lines. Fast Tracks TM provide quick turns on 6.5 and larger container and basket production.”

My response? Are tests for steroids needed here?

Or this winner: “Higher profits via upscale, total package solutions including informative, eye catching tags and branded pots,”

And I thought it was the plants that were supposed to be eye-catching.

or my favorite:

“4.25 Grande self symetricize (registered trademark) container and flat filled display tray (patented) uses a unique version of our symetricize system. When used with automatic pot dispensers, containers shift into place perfectly in the tray-without assistance- to align logo and tag locator spots.

Or perhaps because of the automatic pot dispensers, people only THINK the containers have shifted perfectly into place without assistance…

OMG ( I learned about that one Saturday night- it’s the default remark when both of your iphones are blowing up)

Can’t you just hear the plants response? “What are we? Chopped Liver?”

Then there were the many catalogs proudly describing the journey of 10,000 miles that each of their six week old seedlings had taken. Do we all really want to buy plant plugs that start their life in Spain then get shipped to Georgia then trucked to us all before they have their first bud?

I guess the designer labels begin to make sense when you realize that every member of the Rockapulco series on offer has travelled more in six weeks than most of us will travel in a lifetime.

In response, I would like to offer some bullet points from Green Hope Farm:

During the spring, my much too small greenhouse is full of pots that are perched precariously, have popsicle stick labels and do not match.

I do not know what someone means when they say “expands the spring shoulder market.”

I still believe in dirt and seeds and I use them. Together.

My children send me on errands with the family cell phone and I am too embarrassed to tell them I don’t know how to turn it on.

And Jim, if you are reading this blog, I would love a bouquet of Flowers. Spare me the vegetative growth.

And last but not least, Sarah, if you are reading this blog, I feel your pain. And I am not sure a Supertunia named Vista Bubblegum is going to ease it.

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