True stories with a twist!

Greenhouse Gaff


Our old house had a greenhouse attached to the downstairs back room.  It challenged me to grow plants to brighten up drab, frigid New Jersey winters. No matter how gray and gloomy those days were, it was always warm and comforting in the greenhouse.

I grew orchids: a plant invented to make us all feel cheerful and optimistic no matter what outside conditions dictated. And winter was the orchids’ favored blooming time, making January through March as bright as spring.

One early morning I entered the greenhouse to water the plants. The night before I had filled several gallons with water and left them near the heater to warm up. Mustn’t shock the orchid plants with ice cold tap water! This morning the temperatures were perfect for watering.

This was the most relaxing time of the day: quiet, peaceful, and delightfully free of telephones ringing. I started with the small plants, already in bud. They took extra care and more frequent watering because of the small amount of shredded bark their pots held. They needed watering more often than their larger buddies did. Time floated gracefully by, and soon I was ready for the larger orchids, the Cymbidiums.  As I raised the watering can to the surface of the flower pot I had the sense of something moving.

images-9Glancing down at the potted plant I saw a long, slim, green snake wrapped around and around the main stem of the orchid plant. I let out a scream loud enough to interrupt flight patterns of migrating birds!

Instantly my large, lumbering long haired Old English Sheepdog raced downstairs to rescue me from any dastardly monster. He was on alert, standing in attack mode, ready to fight to the finish, even though he had no idea what or whom he was there to fight. But he had come to my side to help. It was such a loving, caring, instantaneous reaction from this sweet animal.

Next  to respond was my drowsy husband, slowly clomping his way downstairs to learn the cause of the noisy disruption of his peaceful Sunday morning.

“Look: a snake! Right there in the cymbidium pot,” I shouted hysterically.

Unimpressed, he glanced at the offending pot.

I expected some words of comfort, wanted some acknowledgement of this terrifying discovery. Maybe a sympathetic,calming hug. His great words of wisdom and kindness, however, were:

“It’s more afraid of you than you are of it.”

Comments on: "Greenhouse Gaff" (45)

  1. A wise man, your husband, for not have said: “You woke me and that flock of migrating geese up for this?” Good man 😉

  2. The snake was doing Bikram yoga no doubt!

  3. Eeeek! It’s not that a snake (most of them anyway) is all that terror-inducing – but the SURPRISE of it, when you were in your deepest and most peaceful state of reverie! The nerve! He deserved to be scared! Whatever did become of him? (somehow I can’t bring myself to call a snake she…I wonder why that is?) 🙂

  4. Where did the snake go after your husband came and saved the damsel in distress ?

  5. harvey hammer said:

    In a private conversation with “the snake” I was told that it would never again enter that greenhouse and suddenly be traumatized by a loud scream and an angry growl! Poor snake, it was never seen or heard from again.

  6. Jerry Warshaw said:

    I guess the poor snakes have limited choices of where to hang out in January. He chose well.
    Presumably if there were hoards of mosquitos flying around your greenhouse you wouldn’t have entered and you could have had a happier and amused snake.

  7. zinal bhadra said:

    Snakes fasciante me and give me creeps at the same time.. do u have a picture?

  8. And Hubby was right… if you had of gently pick it up it would probably have shown you a bit of love by curling around you hand… you could have placed it in a better spot to aid you to keep the green house free of other critters…
    Snakes are not the friendliest of looking things but like everything else they just want a bit of love… he might have been offering you an apple…

  9. As a lifelong lover of the greatly misunderstood snake, I agree with your husband. From prairie rattlers to glass snakes, these gentle creatures are far more afraid of us than we of them.

  10. Like the idea of your greenhouse to cure the winter blahs. Not many people enjoy snakes, especially unexpectedly. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  11. I love the idea of a greenhouse, Ronnie. It reminds me of that room in “Green Card” – just a lovely, wonderful green and flowery retreat.

    Sorry about the snake. I found a small one in our home last year. Hubby wasn’t home. Cat was the one who pointed it out, but did nothing about it. I was freaked, but I quickly scooped it up in a dust pan and tossed it into our yard. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking as the place I deposited it was very close to our home. Yikes! Hope it scooted a long way away safely.

  12. Yikes! I would have screamed and run in place for five minutes. Love the photo – it’s so cheery on this gray Virginia day.

  13. Green snakes…black snakes. Snakes in general give me the chills! I’m happy your dog and hubby came to the rescue.

    Here, there is a common belief (I find it superstitious) that snakes have ears. They will slither away once the woman of the house screams out their name.

  14. Way to go, you took us along with you on your terrifying journey. I was so enjoying the moment of tranquility and then BAM, a snake…deep breath, deep breath. 🙂

  15. So funny! But not so funny. I would have reacted the same way to a green snake (or any other color). Still, I suppose little snakes go along with that wonderful springtime feeling you get in your greenhouse – no? 🙂

  16. fransiweinstein said:

    I am terrified of snakes. I would have had a coronary on the spot. Who got rid of it? Yuck! I do love orchids, though.

  17. That would have done me in for sure. Not a fan of snakes, am I. 🙂

  18. Glad we don’t have many snakes in this country 🙂 and I hope your rewarded your faithful Dog with a treat! 🙂 Talking of Husbands.. when I was starting in labour with our second child, Id waited for the contractions to get closer together before waking my hubby in the middle of the night, His response was… ‘Well Go and make me a cupa love, before I take you to hospital.’…. ….
    I love my Green house…

    Wonderful Story Ronnie.. 🙂 Wishing you a great weekend

  19. Snake stories almost always leave me wondering about what happened next. Sometimes, in movies, a person will discover a snake in their home, but then the snake disappears. How does the person ever relax again, knowing the snake might still be there? Who got rid of the snake in the greenhouse, and weren’t you nervous every time you went back in there?

  20. Sounds like a lovely place, but I’m afraid of snakes too. Ick.

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