You could say my Mum likes her plants. That’s why my name is Lily, my older sister’s name is Rose, my Dad’s name is Herb and my brother…well, I dread when he gets to high school and people grow up and realise that ‘Wheaton’ isn’t the most normal name for a human person. Also, our family cat is called ‘Shrub’, which I couldn’t pronounce until I was seven. Beats ‘frangipani lulus blood’, which was Mum’s original suggestion. She does love her lulus bloods, though. They’re pretty much a staple around our house, and woe betide any visitor who doesn’t come in and make some kind comment about how they really bring the room together.
Rose told me when I was really young that those flowers were like venus flytraps, in that they eat anything they can get their hands on and that’s why they look like they’re covered in blood. I cried and skirted around them in the living room for a week, even after my sister got a thorough talking to and sentenced to tending to the greenhouse for six weeks, while I got a kindly lecture on the beauty of the frangipani. I’m okay with them now, though when I own my own place I’ll be opting for something a bit brighter.
Mum’s favourite teatime activity is quizzing us on different genus, or how to grow tricky flowers, or world-famous flowers and their Victorian meanings. It’s not so fun when all you want to do is just eat your spaghetti marinara, but on the odd occasion Dad jumps in and tells her to give it a rest. I think Mum’s just a bit put out because, while me and my sister do like flowers and we help out in the greenhouse on weekends, we’re not mad about them like Mum.
Maybe Wheaton will be the true green thumb of the family, taking on the florist business while my sister and I are released from that duty. He’ll be the expert in the lilium double collection and the growth methods of an agapanthus midnight cascade. He’s currently obsessed with starting fires, though, so I think Mum’s final attempt at indoctrination may have failed.