We sit down in Mrs. Flowers' large office, the entire wall covered with floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the courtyard. The view is breath-taking. There are several potted plants around the room, and I can't help but admire their vigorous green and boisterous blooms.
Are you caring for these? I point towards a healthy looking ficus in the corner, quite impressed. I've killed just about every ficus that ever dared crossing our front step. But these... I motion around the room, they look amazing.
Oh, no, no... She bursts into laughter. Actually, they are all... artificial. The latest technology - everyone thinks they are real. The day they were shipped to us, our janitor watered them, convinced they were real.
You mean they are fake?!!! I am embarrassed to show off both my ignorance and incompetence in one grand gaff.
Well, that's another word for it. She giggles. As you can imagine, it would be terribly impractical to keep live plants. This way you get the look without the mess and the hassle.
The pit of stomach sinks two inches in response to her statement. I shake off the feeling by switching the subject.
I brought my notes for the workshop. They fall woefully short of capturing what the Gardener has been teaching me, but this is my best shot.
I push the stack across the shiny surface of her desk and our hands almost meet again. My dirty, broken fingernails in sharp contrast to her bright-red polish.
Very well, very well... she mumbles as she flips through the pages. However, we already have a script prepared for you. We try to keep it short and sweet here. This, she taps the top of the pile with her forefinger, might be a bit too much for our customers. As you may understand, we do everything in our power to keep them happy.
With that, she pulls out a small stack of index cards and sets them on her desk on top of my print-offs.