The immigration official repeated "lupine seeds?".
We nodded. "And honey."
He stamped our paper and sent us to the agriculture imports desk where an official from behind the computer told us he'd just check.
"Do you have an agriculture transport permission certificate?" (or whatever the thing is called...)
"No." (And I thought - but I know someone who does! The Solar Gardens succulent guys have been certified to bring things in. They know what they can bring.) Probably wouldn't help.
"Sorry. You can't bring lupine seeds."
It's just that they do grow in Canada - we saw them blooming in the ditches around Nelson that spring when we picked up our son after his year of woodworking. And now they were gloriously blooming all along the river that we followed to Macetown, the gold mining ghost town just outside of Queenstown. And I've had them in my own garden. They sprouted up for several years in what is now my raspberry patch - just the leaves. It was not a sunny spot so they never grew to flower. Till one spring I moved a couple of them into my front garden and one of them bloomed beautifully for a few years. Then died back and ceased. A few years later, I spotted a new lupine seedling. I carefully moved it into a location that was taken over by snapdragon seeds and I left it there to gather strength and sunlight for the next summer. Except that I forgot that it was there and in the spring when I was cleaning up the spent snap dragon plants I inadvertantly pulled the lupine as well.
So I wanted to bring home New Zealand lupines. They are to me the signs of my sons thriving.
(How much of this conversation has played out in my own heart and how much of it I spoke out loud to the gentle agriculture gate keeper who had to make me give up the lupine seeds I will not tell you!)
"So we picked a few seeds. No dirt."
"Sorry.. No lupine seeds. We'll pull your bags from the plane and you'll have to dig them out."
(I know. Should have kept them in our carryon ... but that all turned out to be helpful. And that is another story.)
We waded through the rivers of lupines, and the clear sparkling Arrow river to get a better glimpse of them ... and there they were, thriving along a river that had such beautiful glittering rocks, surrounded by pink and purple and occasionally salmon colored and white lupines. And pink dianthis. And some rose campion.
We also brought tshirts with fantail birds, and New Zealand sheep wool and manuka honey and books ... but I had looked forward to planting those lupine seeds.
Guess what I'll be hunting for in the Saskatoon greenhouses this spring? I'll be finding lupines.
Thanks Luke and Lisa, for the wonderful adventure!