My gardens are very important to me (OK, they're not "my" gardens, they belong to the campground where I work) and I'm very protective of them. I'm out there every day caretaking, keeping things happy and neat and as weed-free as I can. I feed and water, and yes, I do talk to the plants -- more fun than talking to myself, dontcha know.
So, yesterday evening I was doing some watering, and a young boy about 10 or so came up to me and said "hey lady, wanna buy some flowers?" For an instant my mind went blank. I'm surrounded by flowers, why should I buy more? Then the light went on, and I asked, "where did you get the flowers?" "Over there." He pointed to one of my gardens.
After my inner scream subsided, I took a deep breath and said, as kindly and gently as I could, "you know, these gardens are for our campers to look at and enjoy, but not to pick." Then he went blank for a second. I said, "so you won't pick any more will you?" "No, ma'am. I'm sorry I picked your flowers."
The boy's immediate (and correct) response softened my ire, and I had to smile. How nice to have an innocent, polite, and cooperative kid, picking or not. He showed me and the gardens that he respected us. I really like that because nowadays it's a bit hard to come by from youngsters who've just been turned loose in a campground. They're like little wild animals who've been caged in a small place, and here they are, set free in acreage, with so many places to go and explore; probably they don't realize that they're trampling on some precious plant or new seedling, and I know this is a risk that comes with the territory. It won't make me stop gardening, anyway. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
When I told the story to some of the other staff here (who know how protective I am), they laughed to the point of tears. Now whenever they see me, they ask "hey lady, wanna buy some flowers?" Brings a smile to my face!