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.