"You have to come over and see my peony," Lisa exclaimed,"it's enormous and absolutely stunning!" Damn, she was right, the thing was the size of a small dinner plate. I could only stare with peony envy . . .
In fact, I was positively peony-green with envy, AND there were more buds on the bush, just waiting to bloom (salt in the wound)!
Lisa and I are both avid weekend gardeners and blessed to own BIG, lush gardens that we tend with loving care in our spare time. Her's is serenely punctuated by Birch trees, while mine is largely canopied by giant Redwoods, but both are teeming with hydrangea, Japanese anemone, Daphne and mature rhododendrons that are really lovely, but pale when compared to the majestic peony; a flower unlike any other.
Not that I haven't tried to coax a peony or two with good measure, but without the cold winters that the east coast delivers in abundance, I've had no success with blooms of any size, much less, dinner ware. (Lisa really knows how to rub it in). Even with determination, I've had no luck.
This would never do!
Rushing down to the Ace Nursery on grand Avenue, I was determined to try once again. "I need a peony," I said to the nurseryman. "How much sun do you get?" he asked. "Not a lot; how much do I need?" I replied. "About six hours," he answered, "and good drainage to boot." Shoot! My dream of peonies was fading as quickly as the sun in my garden, save for a few miniscule patches of light.
"Unless . . ." he started (Unless what???) "We have a new hybrid that collectors are snapping up. That might just work."
"I'll take it!" I said, grabbing the last one off the lot (Lisa wasn't getting the best of me). "I'll make it work."
That's kind of how I feel about real estate in general. Sometimes, given the budgets, the limitations, or the pressing time tables, buyers learn to "make it work."
At other times, given the offers (or lack thereof), new discovery, or the variables of the marketplace, sellers are forced "to make it work."
In both camps, understanding that every deal doesn't come easily, serves both buyers and sellers in equal parts. (In truth, in this more conservative marketplace, very few transactions come easily.) BUT if we are open to the possibilities, we can often meet our end goals with ingenuity, patience and some well intentioned give and take.
As for me, I've given my new peony a prominent place in my garden and some well aerated soil. Now if the peony will only give me some love in return in the way of BIG, BOLD flowers large enough to make Lisa envious, I'd be down right thrilled and able to claim bragging rights - "Look at the size of this one!" In the meantime, I'll make do. . .
Sigh . . . (Peony envy can get a girl into real trouble).
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.