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Today is my two year anniversary of keeping the cafe flowers . Two years ago I sat and sipped coffee beside one of these enormous cement pots. A dead gardenia bush stuck from it’s center while an array of cigarettes and detritus floated about it. It was appalling.

Cafe flowers

I went inside at the urging of a waitress I knew and told the manager, Remon– a very friendly, flirty man whom I’d met before–that I was going to the nursery for myself and that I wanted to get  flowers for the cafe too. I told him I was going to replant that one pot.

I planted a fiery apricot Chinese Lantern surrounded by various  flowers I had no name for. It looked lovely. Customers applauded; I referred them to Remon.

So, I planted another, then all five; then later–a very ambitious undertaking–I dug up a 10 feet long triangle of curbed ground along their side door. A dead begonia, weeds. I pulled up buckets and buckets of cement clods beneath sparse inches of dirt. The cooks hauled them to the dumpster in intervals. It was nearing 100 degrees. We were exhausted.

I imported dirt, mulched, watered, fertilized, then finally, I planted: two French lavenders, rosemary, a gardenia, yarrow, wild grasses and a plethora of yellow, orange, pink and white Gazanias. In the spring I added sunflowers that grew to overlooks one table. It looked wild and lovely and I have fought to keep it that way.

Cafe flowers2

Customers are the enemy. Cigarette butts, gum, lemon wedges from water glasses (wait staff) and various unwanted food pieces. Children pick the flowers–actually, so do adults.  And sometimes a random clump of flowers will disappear completely. I have no idea where to. Still, I keep showing up. I water, prune, declutter, fertilize and replant.  I treat it like my own garden.

Today,  I just buy flowers then give Remon the bill. I bought a new hose, a trolley and watering system replacement parts. I pushed Remon to get a new lawn mower man and  table umbrellas.  I mess with the watering system. I steam at Remon when any of it has been messed with. And often I can be found deadheading flowers as I sip my morning coffee.

And coffee is what I get in exchange. Depending on who you talk to I am either getting screwed or a great deal. Most days, I think it’s a great deal, because I have a two-trips-a-day coffee habit, minimum. Plus, I like having a place to go to chat. When you work at home there is no water cooler to stand around for gossip. The cafe is my water cooler.

Cafe flowers3

So, today has been two years of cafe gardening. I am their gardener; the cooks call me their “flower lady.”

This day is a good reminder that life is what I make of it. This includes work, relationships and even fun. (All of which I often think aren’t out there for me because I can’t, won’t, don’t see or find them.) But, like my garden, this is a good reminder that my life will take a bit of personal creation. Just because they don’t exist yet, doesn’t mean I can’t make them on my own.

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When I need a little treat I like to wander through this shop and sigh. It’s like a little slice of French heaven.
paris

Le Petite Paris, Sacramento

And now it’s a cafe too.
I love this.

Silvery glitter decor. Fun.

paris21

Fabulous vintage

They have great cappuccinos and stacks of French magazines. Sometimes you’ll even hear customers speaking French. I think we need to have a milonga here–wine, brie, truffles and tango. What’s not to love. d.

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Hello, Just checking in. Letting you all know I’m still here. DahliaFound has been picking up business and I’m so happy. So I’ve been shopping and trying to get more posted. It never ends.

Meanwhile, amidst the world havoc I thought I’d take a minute today to appreciate my flowers. I’ve been gardening now for a year and a half at the cafe. That’s a lot of coffee trade. 😉 but the cafe is looking nice. My plants are happier with the temperature dipping. Soon, Autumn will produce a second spring, that only California gets. Let the flowers bloom!

Outside the Cafe

Outside the Cafe

One of 5 flower pots--Chinese Lanterns and Marigolds

One of 5 flower pots--Chinese Lanterns and Marigolds

Time for tea. Have a nice weekend, d.

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Sunday

Oh no. . . I may be getting the flu. I ache everywhere. I’ve drawn a bath and I’m going to soak it out of me. Sigh.

 I did manage to hold it bay all afternoon. I took Zephyr to the river, a nice long walk. It was almost ridiculously hot (global warming in Feb. Fabulous.) We took the lower trail along the water’s edge, still muddy in some places. It spends most of the winter underwater. Lots of mulchy leaves, that groovy pond smell. It was lovely, actually.

Bought more flowers, gazanias, and filled the planter at the cafe. I couldn’t help it. I love gazanias. Hopefully R. will agree. I fixed the small purple fence I made, tattered from weather. It’s mostly heavy twine. It looks much cleaner now. I suppose I need a picture of that as well.

But now we are home. Zephyr is tucked in, a bit sore and stiff. He thinks he’s a puppy still, romps and plays w/other dogs, then creeps up the stairs at night. Poor guy. And right now, I feel the same way. Even my fingers hurt. Ugh.

Good night, d.

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