Deadheads and Dibbles

Xanadu Weyr - Greenhouse
The greenhouse stands along one wall of the garden, the trees surrounding its immediate perimeter cleared away so full sun falls upon its length for the entire day. Its frame is comprised of white wrought-iron, strong despite its decorative appearance, built to support the thickly-crafted glass panes that substitute for side walls and high ceilings. Two stories high, the oblong building is one part jungle retreat, one part hothouse garden, for though its function is to provide medicinal plants for the infirmary, and keep the weyr in fruits, vegetables, and herbs in off-seasons, the addition of a fountain, a variety of flowering plants, and a clump of palm trees at either end make it an arboretum of sorts, giving respite and relief from Xanadu's dreary, green-starved winter months.

Ornately-fashioned columns and rafters are of the same white wrought-iron as are the staircases at either end, each set of stairs a narrow spiral that leads up to a wide catwalk skirting the upper reaches of the greenhouse. Benches and circular tables are stationed under the perimeter of domed ceilings located on the ends of the oblong building, where palms planted below reach skyward and provide some seclusion. The potted presence of flowering herbs, plumeria, and night-blooming jasmine fill the air with a fresh, spicy, sometimes heady scent.

White gravel floors provide drainage for the automatic sprinklers that mist the plants, cleverly divided and set to different times for different sections. Down the long center aisle, waist-high planting beds are tilted to provide easy access to the weyr's denizens. Beneath are cupboards and drawers containing planting supplies such as seeds, bags of potting soil, fertilizer, pots and hand tools, along with several signs encouraging the careful addition of favorite plants to their appropriate beds. A work bench for potting plants and a closet for shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows have been tucked unobtrusively into one corner, accessible to anyone who might spy them amidst carefully-kept shrubbery.

It's not the nicest sort of winter day to be out working in the gardens; it's a little overcast, the ground is still a little damp from last night's rain, but Andalise numbers among the little cluster of candidates sent to assist with tasks in- and out-of-doors like deadheading and starting some of the prep work to have the soil ready for when spring returns to the maritime weyr. With her hair pulled back and mostly pinned up to be out of the way, she's still left with a few strands to puff annoyed breaths at while lugging a bucket back into the greenhouse, gardening apron already covered in stains as much from previous wearers as the morning's efforts. Dark eyes study the selection of tools with a look that grows more and more dubious, even as a gloved hand absently reaches up to wipe at her forehead. Which one was she supposed to grab, again? She half-extends a hand toward something wedge-shaped and pauses. No, maybe not that one.

The filtered sun above is yet unable to burn off the lingering dampness, the chilly mist forming into glistening droplets that hang from twiggy, dormant branches all about the garden and greenhouse. That smell of cool petrichor, an inviting smell that could drag Ava from berthing faster than a mug of hot klah or the promise of warm sweet cakes and that siren call of storms is exactly the draw for her appearance this early morning. Fresh, moist soil, perfect for scooping into seedling pots, several now laid out before her waiting to be filled. Ava drags a deep breath and exhales slowly, a fond sound that resonates calm escaping her as she steps back off of her stool, one foot hooking it up into her hand with a deft motion before she's slowly drifting down the gravel paths of the greenhouse, sidling up next to the left of Andy where she hesitates. “Good morning candidate.” The red head offers a warm smile, her own mass of hair barely contained under wrap and floppy sun hat. Ava’s brows lift and her head tipping towards the tools made available. “Could you pass me the bulb and seed dibbles, please?”

"Huh? Oh, good morning, " replies Andy reflexively, biting her lip as she stares at the various tools a moment longer. "Um. The bulb and seed — thingies? They — " Doe-like eyes return sheepishly to the redhead who looks very much like a gardener. "I don't even know what the bibbles, did you say, are?" That's only slightly higher-pitched, followed by a little scrunching of her nose. "Here, let me just, " shuffle a few steps to the side so that the person who actually knows what she's doing might have easier access to the tool rack, bucket scraping across the floor as it gets nudged along with the brunette's foot. "I think I'm supposed to fetch a pair of shears for the next task, but I'm really not sure which ones they meant." There's an almost hopeful look sent Ava's way. Help?

As Andy sidesteps, Ava slides in to fill the space, extending her reach to finger both of the requested tools up and out of their holds, one looking like a large metal leather punch, the other a narrow, tapering cone. “Dibbles,” Ava corrects warmly, holsting the tools’ handles into a belt loop, “They make a space for seeds in the pots.” She adds with equal warmth as she steps back to regard the young woman, her head tilting slightly, consideration given silently to what she just might be shearing. “Well,” She starts after a moment, sliding a few options free of the rack and placing them down on the ledge before them, “I depends on what you tend to shear.” Ava starts, gestures given to the tools before them, some so large they would require both hands, and some much smaller, nearly palm size. “These can remove branches, and these are good for flowers but these, “ She picks up a hearty pair of pruners, offering them to Andy, “Are a good multipurpose choice. If you like, I could take a look at what you will be working on and make a better suggestion?” Ava smiles, “I’m Ava by the way.” Her name is offered as an aside as she returns the unchosen shears to their holsters.

Andalise mouths 'dibbles' carefully as if trying to commit the term to memory, glancing over the various sizes of blades she should totally not be handling shears pulled out by the other young woman. "I'm pretty sure they're not for me since I'm supposed to keep working on just pulling these flowers for the bucket, " the candidate says quickly with a nervous sort of laugh. "I'll go with the multipurpose ones and hope it hits a good middle ground, " pun probably not intended given that she concludes with a shrug and a cheery, "Thanks. Nice to meet you, Ava. I'm Andy. Are you a gardener? I'm usually only ever in here to pull some fresh herbs for a recipe, " which perhaps doesn't require such intimate knowledge of the tool rack and its contents.

"A pleasure to meet you.” Ava’s eyes crinkle with gentle mirth and her grin deepens as she passes off the shears. “Oh, me? No, no,” Ava lifts a hand disarmingly, a shake of her head driving home that point. “Healercraft, but I quite enjoy gardening in my free time. A hobby but also a useful one to take up in my case.” She rolls a shoulder plaintively and then with a hungry curiosity lifts her brows. “Recipes?” Her lips quirk upwards, teeth peeking out. “I don't want to keep you but you cook then? Or, did?” She gestures to the knot with an unknowing shrug, Weyr life was still painfully new to her.

Healer. "Oh, " says one of the infirmary's frequent-fliers, likely relieved when there's no immediate recognition between the two. "You must be pretty new here, " Andy guesses or magically never on-duty when she comes in. She fidgets with the shears, clearly unused to handling tools like these. Almost sheepishly, she adds, "Oh, yeah. I'm a baker, just an apprentice. I still get to work on some projects around the kitchens since candidates with crafts are encouraged to continue using our skills while we're waiting for the clutch to hatch. It's harder to find time to study with the extra classes, but it's nice to not always have to join in the general chore rotation every day. Do they give you a lot of later-in-the-day shifts, or is this particular morning just part of your free time?"

“New enough to get mostly overnight rotations.” The grin turns to a contemptuous grimace, a breath passing from her in a small huff. “Coming off of one this morning, actually.” Ava lightly grouses as her eyes follow the shears as they dither too and fro in the young woman's hand with a creeping sense of anxiety. "There is a lock on the side," Ava offers softly with a slight gesture before her hands find her pockets and she refocuses her attention. "Baking, well I know who to track down now when I need a sweet fix," Ava muses impishly, but there is a sincerity behind it. She had yet to make any friends here yet. "At least till you stand. " She adds before continuing. "That does sound like a lot, I imagine the familiar can be a bit of respite. " Especially in unknown areas of expertise. Like this one. With sharp objects. "Do they let you have social and hangout time or is it all classes and chores?" Is she asking Andy to hang out? Yes, yes she is.

"A what? Oh!" Never mind that Andalise comes close to dropping the shears while trying to engage the lock; somehow, she manages to do so without creating a case for whichever healers happen to be on duty right now. "I'm not very good at desserts yet, " the apprentice admits, "but there's a few people working in the kitchens who are way better than me at making treats." Her brow furrows a little. "Um, of course, we get some free time, same as anyone else." Where a more socially savvy person might insert an invitation here to indeed hang out at some point, this one just looks politely puzzled. "There's very little free time after if you're lucky enough to make a friend on the sands, " she tacks on after a moment. "I mean, for a while. My friend who Impressed always seemed so busy for the first couple of months."

The smallest little breath of a sigh passes from Ava’s nose, the corners of her lips twisting into a tired, almost defeated smile as her stance shifts, one leg back in the beginning of retreat at the puzzling response. Ava pauses, her thoughts rolling in her mind and reflecting in her expression, trying to determine the nature of the look and response from the young woman. Did she not wish to hang out, or understand that social que? Or perhaps the fault was in Ava herself, either way, a hand is lifted lightly, palm towards Andy in the start of a departing wave, suddenly feeling the test anxiety in her chest and the urge to return to her solitary work. “Well if you have time and would like to hang out,” Ava starts with a soft offer, “It would be nice to make friends with someone local to here. I don’t want to be the one who keeps you too long lest someone come looking for the promised shears. Good luck with your gardening and making a friend on the sands, Andy.” And with that Ava ducks her head lightly in parting before turning and making her way back towards her planting station.

Andy's face lights up at the now obvious invitation, perhaps beaming back at Ava with as large of a proportion of cheer as the healer's unshared and unreadable discomfort. "Yeah! But you're right, I should get these back out there. Thanks for your help! I'll be seeing you around, I'm sure, " especially since she's somehow not needed the infirmary for two sevens running (a new record!). Lifting a work-gloved hand in an awkward, little wave, the candidate leaves her new acquaintance to her solitude, hefting shears and bucket carefully before trudging back outside where more encounters with shrubbery undoubtedly await.

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