The Value of Things
I'm always amazed, when I go to New York, at how much a flower can cost. I love going in to high-end flower shops like the Takashimaya store on Fifth Avenue and buying just a couple flowers to take to whoever I'm going to see--often my editor, my agent, somebody like that. When I was there in November, a single peony cost $25. I probably should have been appalled by that, but instead I found it kind of perversely thrilling. Imagine paying $25 for a single flower when you could buy the plant--maybe two of them--for the same price!
Callas are also extraordinarily expensive in Manhattan, but here in northern California they grow like weeds (in fact, I do have a few volunteers in my garden in addition to the ones I planted on purpose.) The longer the stem, the higher the price. One day, shortly after we returned from New York, Scott and I were out in the backyard and I grabbed a calla that was almost as tall as I was and yanked it out of the ground (they prefer to be snapped out of the ground rather than cut, by the way). I told Scott, "Look, I just pulled $35 out of the ground."
I went inside and put it in the one floor vase tall enough to support such a large stem, feeling quite decadent about it.
And now I have about a dozen of them, and as I trimmed their stems and found a vase for them, I thought, how much would this bunch go for in New York in February? A hundred dollars? Two hundred? And here they grow for free, with absolutely no care from me, from bulbs that a friend dug out of her garden when they got overcrowded. It's a crazy world.