Valentine’s Day is so weird.

Despite the fact that I love a handful of romantic type things,* I don’t actively pursue a lot of that noise.** For example, I respect LARP, but I don’t do LARP. I don’t wear makeup or get bananas about looking glamorous. I love dragons, but I don’t collect dragon-y stuff. Most of my gardening is of the perennially green or fruiting variety. I do not own a cloak. Basically this: I’m pretty practical. I’ve actually been told*** that I do not have a romantic bone in my body. While I disagree with that statement, I can probably say with some surety that I could count the romantic bones I do have in my body on the fingers of one hand. And so Valentine’s Day is weird to me – all that Hallmark-y pressure!

Dearest Will is totally ok with this (which is probably why we’ve managed to last together, natch). Every time I try to live up to the Valentine’s Day romantic stuff, we end up with a belly full of overcooked steak and a card that I agonized over in Target and still don’t feel right about. So instead, Dearest Will and I have begun to take the holiday as an excuse to do frivolous shopping.† Well, mark the date, sister: this year was the Best Shopping Trip Since the First Time We Visited IKEA.††

I read about Seed to Stem online a couple weeks ago, and nearly peed. And then I realized that it’s really close by, and I got stupid excited – plants, stones, taxidermy? Yes, yes, yes! But that really just doesn’t say enough about the place.

We went up yesterday after dinner††† and it was even more than I could have hoped for. First of all, it was an absolute delight to run into a friend whom I hadn’t seen in an age and love to pieces, the moment we walked into the store. Second of all, the store is beautiful – plants and stuffed animals and pretty things in a room with wood floors and tidy bookshelves filled with curiosities and treasures like bugs in resin and old fashioned keys and terraria with pretty quartz pebbles. Thirdly, it was snug and warm and slightly humid in there, which was such a balm on the soul, I cannot correctly express it without sounding a little precious, so I’ll stop there. It smelled really nice too.

The store is only one room big, and Dearest Will and I spent over an hour looking and choosing. We walked around and around the display of hanging terraria that sparkled like the most luxurious Christmas ornaments ever over a table full of larger succulents in glass jars. We lingered at a drawer full of polished stones and little metal animals with gorgeous blue patinas. We hovered and sniffed at the tall forcing jars of white hyacinth. I talked to the plants. I made eyes at the goat head hanging on the wall, and petted the pretty fox’s tail. We chatted with the delightful owners about what kinds of plants would do best in which kinds of spots in our house. I could have stayed a whole day on the couch in front and been rather content, I’m sure. We picked out a hanging terrarium and a forcing jar with a white hyacinth in it. And a little metal gazelle and a beautiful cube of quartz to go on the shrine I’ve been working on in the living room. (This is to say, all the prices were reasonable.) All of which was packed up in what appeared to be a delicate cloud of tissue, but turned out to be a rather secure bundle. All the way home, my eyes were shining, and I could not stop saying, “That was so magical!”

We are already planning to come back with Our Man Cub – maybe to build a terrarium from the diy pick-your-own stuff, or maybe to take a workshop. There are workshops coming up soon, too – one on building a succulent container garden tomorrow, and one on building an air-plant apothecary terrarium on the 27th (call to register in advance), and they both sound pretty osm. We are definitely going to need to return soon, if only to linger and adopt plants.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, please go check them out and have a little magical time yourself. Seed to Stem is at 174 Shrewsbury Street. Their winter hours are like this: Tuesday 11-5, Wednesday 11-5, Thursday 11-7, Friday 11-5, and Saturday 10-5. 508/890-0933.


*Stories involving magic, elves, swords and other Westeros-y business. Pretty fabrics. Fancy paper. Mash notes and cd mixes.
**Outside of the sea of books, dvds, paper and cloth, that is.
***By someone I did not marry.
†Other Valentine ritual: the night before, I purchase chocolate bars for all of us. Really good chocolate bars.
††Omifuckinggod: IKEA.
†††Fish sticks and tater tots. Look, I just can’t manage fancy home cookin’ every night of the week, ok? Also, as bad for the body as I know that stuff is? It was warm and cozy and homey and slathered in tangy tartar sauce. I’ll get back to home made bread and soup over the weekend, but Thursday night was fish sticks and tater tots for the three of us, and it was yummy and relaxed, and pretty wonderful. -urp-