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 A Garden for the Senses, Eileen&Cyrus
Tanuki
 Posted: May 1 2018, 07:51 PM
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Despite the fact that she had woken up with cloudy vision that morning, Eileen was still determined to make the day her own. She had spent some time staring at her bare backyard throughout the spring. She knew that at some point she was going to lose her vision, the bareness of the yard wouldn't bother her anymore because she wouldn't be able to see it. She could tell herself that, but she was pretty sure that wasn't going to be true. Because she knew that she would carry this image, how it looked now, and it wouldn't be a place she could come and feel comforted, or happy.

And that was why she decided she'd be visiting the local Garden Shop today. She needed to do something about it, but she didn't know what. She had been to the shop at her mother's side before, and she knew the man who ran it, Cyrus, was a nice person. So maybe he'd be open to help her in figuring out just what she wanted for a nice garden that she could appreciate for perhaps years to come, when all was said and done. She had her way out of the house rather carefully, making sure she took her time when it came to getting where she was going. She had to do that a lot lately, mornings and nights being particularly tricky when it came to her vision.

The shades over her eyes and the hat over her head helped at least shield her eyes from the harsher summer sun, the warm weather also bringing the stronger rays with it. She always wondered when she'd start needing a cane, or something to get around, but she never wanted to dwell on the thought for that long. She bit her lip as she found the door, hoping she'd be able to properly express what she wanted, what she was doing there. After all, she'd rather not have come all the way here just to make a fool out of herself.

She made her way inside, and for the moment she didn't see him, her eyes shifted to something on the shelf, but it slightly discouraged her when she couldn't make out the words. Perhaps they were too small, anyway. "Uh, Cyrus?" she called after another moment. "Good Morning! I just had a few questions about, you know...Gardening."

Oh yeah Eileen, like he didn't have an idea that was the reason you would come into a Gardening Shop.

Smooth Operator, this was she.


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strawberry
 Posted: May 1 2018, 08:28 PM
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summer 3rd • late morning• outfit • Eileen, Tanuki



Summer had arrived and brought a new set of plants with it. Though Cyrus had most of his shipment out, there were still things to be put away and organized and seeds to get started. The beginning of every season except Winter was always busy for him. Though, if he were being honest, every part of each season except Winter was always busy. There was always pruning or weeding or planting to be done, and the shop constantly needed to be cleaned and organized.

He wished he made enough money to hire extra hands, but he barely made enough money to cover Ella's pay. He understood his prices were more expensive, but he had hoped that the people who had stayed in Ioana would appreciate the variety of plants he brought in. He supposed they had their own bills to struggle with, though, so at the end of the day he couldn't blame the big time farmers for ordering cheaper seeds in bulk. At least he could appeal to the small time gardener, though.

This particular Summer morning found Cyrus tending to the artificial pond in the corner of his store. Algae had started to take over and he was worried about the goldfish he had in it. There were only three of them, and while they were unnamed, Cyrus cared for them as if they were his own pets. He was submerging a bottle to test the oxygen levels when the door opened. He sealed the bottle off and turned, jotting down a quick note in the little notebook he kept in his pocket to remind himself of where he was in texting the dissolved oxygen, looking for whoever had come in.

It was Eileen, a woman a couple years older than him, who'd he'd seen around town and in his shop a few times. He sat the sample aside, put on his customer service smile, and approached her.

"Good morning! You've come to the right place," he told her with a quick chuckle. "I'll answer your questions to the best of my ability. What did you need to know?" If there was one thing he could carry on a conversation about, it was plants.
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Tanuki
 Posted: May 2 2018, 07:15 AM
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Perhaps, had she thought about more than leaving the house, Eileen would have known what kind of questions she was going to ask once Cyrus had finally answered her, which hadn't taken that long. Fairly, it wasn't really the fact that she didn't know what to ask, she had been thinking about this idea for a while now, but she didn't know how to convey it now that she was trying to put the whole plan into motion. But she did want this garden, after all. And if she didn't act soon then she'd never be able to see it through to completion.

She felt her cheeks tinge a slight pink when he answered her. The right place, of course! Cyrus didn't seem to mean it in ill will, but perhaps Eileen was just a little sensitive to her own mis-wordings. She did do that a lot, and this probably wouldn't be the last time either. She had to think about a way to say it quickly, since he was waiting for her question, so she took a moment to think about the words. She chuckled softly before answering. "Well I...I was wanting to build a garden." she said after a moment. Did that sound too much like she was talking about something like building birdhouses? Probably, but she decided it was much better not to dwell on it and perhaps Cyrus knew what she meant.

"It's just that my yard is very barren. There are never any kind of birds or wildlife there because there's nothing for them. Just dead shrubs and bushes." Thinking about it, she added. "The people who owned the little place before me didn't take very good care of it, and I just haven't had the time to try and revive it, er, not until now." Was she making sense? She hoped so. If she could ever stop second guessing herself she'd discover that she was doing just fine. "I wish I had more of a vision to give you but, it just...the whole garden should be appealing to most of the senses. Hearing, smell, does...does that sound like its something doable? Or like I've come up with some kind of fantasy in my head again?" she asked with a slight laugh.


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strawberry
 Posted: May 3 2018, 09:04 PM
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summer 3rd • late morning• outfit • Eileen, Tanuki



Cyrus nodded at her response, sticking his hands on his hips and waiting a moment to see if she could continue. He'd had customers in the past come in, giving him a general request like hers, and he had to tease out answers with questions for at least half an hour before he made any progress with them. Luckily, after a moment or two, she continued.

He continued nodding, switching back and forth between looking at her and looking at the shop. He was never a fan of prolonged eye contact. Ideas started forming as she continued to speak. He'd heard of the types of gardens she was describing before. He believed they were called sensory gardens. He'd visited botanical gardens where there were sections with a sensory garden before. They often appealed to children, though they were just as nice for adults and people with disabilities.

Cyrus grinned as she finished up talking, shaking his head when she asked if it sounded like some kind of fantasy. "No, that definitiely sounds doable! I'm afraid my flower inventory isn't the biggest in the world, but we can always get some shipped in. There are plants that feel nice, too, even if they're not the prettiest. Were you looking specifically for plants that make noise? Bamboo is pretty good, but it grows like crazy and can be invasive, so I would recommend planting those in containers on a porch. If you're open to decorations, a fountain or two is always good and the rain chains that I have in stock sound nice too. Of course," he said, taking a short breath, "I can always get more stuff from my supplier, like wind chimes or Japanese deer chasers. And were you looking for a taste section too? I do have a decent selection of herbs that smell nice and taste good. Rosemary is a personal favorite, and mint tastes nice too, though I don't really like how it smells." He stopped, realizing just how long he'd rambled on for. He was probably overwhelming the poor woman.

A blush started creeping up his neck and he looked down, clearing his throat. "S-s-sorry. I g-g-get kind of c-c-carried away," he said, blushing even more now that his stutter was coming through. He closed his eyes for a moment and drew in a deep breath, trying to calm himself. "Maybe we can just go through section by section and I'll make suggestions?" he asked, opening his eyes. "And we'll need to address the issues of lighting and soil quality before we pick any type of plant out."
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Tanuki
 Posted: May 4 2018, 12:25 PM
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Eileen had come here with only an idea, but it wasn't really anything she could put into words. Senses, she needed a garden that would appeal to the senses, something that could make her feel just as good as staring out over a beautiful Garden with tons of colorful flowers, she needed to feel that beauty. But she had also come here expecting Cyrus would have no idea what she was on about and by the end of it, he'd think she was crazy, probably never want to speak to her again, she had let the worst case scenario part of her mind get the best of her.

"O-Oh, well that's alright, we don't need to--" she was going to tell him he didn't need to go to so much trouble for her and that she would be fine with anything that he could do, but was surprised when he started going into 1000 different possibilities for the Garden that she was wanting. Bamboo made noise? There was so many things that he mentioned that she wanted to know about now that he had mentioned them. He had hundreds of things in mine, and she could tell by how he spoke he was very passionate about things like this, so instead of trying to interject with questions and such, she just listened.

And it could have been the reason she was so surprised when he suddenly stopped in an embarrassed fluster. She held out her hands, thinking about taking his arm but deciding against it, not everyone liked to be touched. "Oh no, Cyrus it's--" When he relaxed after a moment, she smiled. "It's alright Cyrus, really! I thought it was kind of nice, actually." Now it was her turn for a light tinge of pink to appear on her cheeks as she rubbed the back of her neck. "It's just...I'm kind of really relieved you know what you're doing, and I'd love to go over the different things we can do for my garden, it seems like there's so many." she said cheerfully. "It's a pretty large Garden see, I live on Maple Haven Drive. So it often pends on the time of day, with the light." she mentioned, trying to be assuring by giving him another smile. "But I'm afraid I don't know what the soil is like. But, my mom mentioned I might need it, so I brought a small container of some of it with me, does that help?" she asked curiously.




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strawberry
 Posted: May 15 2018, 09:13 AM
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summer 3rd • late morning• outfit • Eileen, Tanuki



The blush faded back a little when it seemed like Eileen hadn't been completely overwhelmed or offended by his impromptu monologue. Cyrus relaxed a little, letting his shoulders fall back slightly from their previous hunched position. He always tried to make himself appear a little smaller when he embarrassed himself, which was admittedly nearly an impossible thing to do.

He gave a nod of understanding as she continued to speak. If this was her first time gardening, all the choices could seem a little overwhelming, though the fact that she lived on Maple Haven narrowed the choices down considerably. If trees covered most of her yard, then the only things that would flourish would be those that could survive in shade for most of the day. If her yard was clear, then that opened up the possibilities to those that lived in partial sun. "I see. Well, the partial sun does help to narrow it down. And there are lots of ferns that are pleasant to the touch..." He stopped himself before he launched into another ramble.

Cyrus grinned when she she said she had brought a soil sample. "That helps tremendously," he said, turning slightly to look toward the counter. "I've got some pH testing strips up at the counter. If you'll just follow me." He turned all the way and started walking up to the counter, looking back over his shoulder every few steps to make sure she was following. "Since you live on Maple Haven, I'm thinking that the soil will be slightly acidic. Deciduous forest soils typically are, unless someone lived in your house before you and they wrecked the soil." If that was the case, then her garden would need a lot of help before anything could really grow. But he had the solutions for it, thankfully. "If so, I've got lots of compost and I can always order blood meal and bone meal for phosphorous or nitrogen."

Once at the counter, he dipped behind it for a moment to find the strips. "Here we are," he said as he pulled out a few strips and the half-filled gallon of distilled water. "I'll just need to mix a little of that soil with some water and we'll know what type of soil we're working with here," he told her with a smile. He was glad to be working like this again. Most people in the area knew essentially what they were doing and just came in to buy tools or plants, leaving him feeling a little helpless. But he was more than happy to be of service to Eileen. It might have been a little selfish, since it was the closest he was going to get to putting his degree to good use, but he still enjoyed being able to actually help someone.

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Tanuki
 Posted: May 21 2018, 05:53 PM
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Eileen was happy that Cyrus seemed to calm down when she told him she actually enjoyed hearing about all the options for her garden and how they could possibly make it better for the place to thrive. She listened when he mentioned where she lived narrowing it down. She didn’t know why she imagined any plant could grow anywhere, after all they were living things and probably had natural preferences about what conditions they thrived in despite not being alive and aware, even if it wasn’t in the same way as her, or Cyrus.

”Ferns...those are the ones whose leaves are sort of shaped like feathers, aren’t they?” Oh, there she was talking like she knew what she was saying. She cleared her throat softly. ”I- I mean I could be wrong, but if those are the ones I quite like them.” She mentioned with a soft smile.

She was pretty pleased when he said the soil sample would help him, and she’d need to thank her mother later since she was the one who suggested it to begin with. ”Sure!” She said when Cyrus asked her to follow. It was easy enough to feel comfortable around Cyrus, despite how tall he was, he didn’t make it intimidating and it was something Eileen could appreciate.

”Acidic?” She asked curiously, wondering how plants still grew, at least until Cyrus said that was normal for such soil. She fished through her belongings until she found what she was looking for and handed it to Cyrus, noting the color of the soil even if she had no idea if that was an important detail.

”When I brought the house, the Garden was totally dead. It seems weird, but it was almost like even the weeds didn’t want to grow.” She explained to him, rubbing the back of her neck in a sheepish manner. ”It’s felt sort of sad, and because of that, it makes me sad as well...” she added, her cheeks tinging themselves pink when she realized she was babbling. ”I’m sorry, it probably doesn’t make sense when I say it like that, I’d...well, I’d just be happy if I could give that garden any life at all.”

When he mentioned how they’d measure the soil, she listened with interest. ”Just like that? Is there some special thing to it or is it just water?” Was that a silly question? She hoped not.

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