Fortunately for Willow Grover, the bus stops only a short distance from Emerald City Nursery, where she's been working for the past few years. She walks way too much (according to her ankles and knees, anyway) around the five acres of retail space in the nursery throughout the day, so walking more than a few blocks to get there seems a bit too far.
The bus it is. Sure, she's earned enough to buy an inexpensive hybrid car, but she prefers a "greener" mode of transportation.
Willow arrives at the nursery early, at 7:30AM. Because it's been so warm the past few days and is expected to be warm again today, she spends the early part of the morning dragging hoses and watering the small plants that aren't hooked up to drip irrigation. This may seem boring, but it's the most peaceful time of the day for Willow. At a certain time, though—around 9:15AM today—the sun starts to heat the nursery and the customers start rolling in to ruin her morning reverie.
The first few customers know what they want—one needs a few bales of soil amendments, another needs lawn fertilizer and gypsum—and they only need help loading it into their cars.
It's a fairly slow start, which is fine with Willow because she's able to keep working on her plan to rearrange all the plants in the nursery. The season will be changing soon, so she has to make sure certain plants will still receive as much sunlight as possible. She also repositions others to help clear out old inventory.
At around 11:00AM, a customer comes in with a strange request: he's just bought a half-oak wine barrel and wants to know which petunias will cascade from it most impressively.
He and Willow talk through some options, finally settling on a beautiful arrangement with petunias of several different colors. He leaves and Willow congratulates herself on a personal victory—the purple and white petunias hadn't been selling well, but he took the last of them off her hands.
Marcia, the other sales associate working today, arrives at 11:30AM. Willow heads out for lunch, which is just a quick trip to the grocery store next door for a chicken salad sandwich. She's back at the nursery at 12:00PM, and the slow early afternoon hours commence.
A few customers come and go during the next few hours, but Willow mostly just flips through a few Home & Garden magazines lying around and quizzes Marcia on different flower types (Marcia just started a few weeks ago).
At about 3:00PM, Willow does a quick walk-through of the nursery with her clipboard, taking inventory notes. She won't have to put in an order until the end of the week, but she likes to stay on top of these things.
At 3:55PM, a mere five minutes before Willow is set to go home, the notorious Mrs. Gulch arrives, complete with her usual scowl. She immediately locks eyes with Willow—an old foe—and marches up to her, ready to unfurl her list of demands.
She wants a shade tree for her front lawn, but not just any shade tree. It can't drop messy leaves to clutter the lawn, or have aggressive roots that'll rip up the lawn, or get too big, or clash with her lawn ornaments.
Since the moment she saw Mrs. Gulch, Willow's been smiling as big as she can through clenched teeth. She waits patiently as Mrs. Gulch huffs and puffs and explains her needs, but just as she's about to unclench her jaw and attempt a reply, Marcia appears at her side.
"Willow, why don't you let me handle this—I was just over in our tree section. I think I have a few ideas Mrs. Gulch might like." She smiles at Willow, who's now wearing that particular expression that says, "You're the best and I totally owe you one." Marcia turns back to Mrs. Gulch and the two of them walk off toward the trees.
Willow, hugely relieved to be free of Mrs. Gulch, practically skips to the bus stop—even if her ankles and knees tell her to take it easy. They'll get a rest once she gets home; Willow's looking forward to a quiet, Netflix-filled evening. Once she waters her bazillion plants, that is.