Victoria, a member of the nymphaeaceae family, is an aquatic plant native to tropical regions. This was a description of victoria in the book that had been clearly imprinted on Lu Lingxi’s mind.
There were quite a few victorias in the pond, with their leaves spreading out and floating on the water, emerald in colour and seemingly more than three metres in diameter, like giant jade discs. The first-class victoria caught by the panel was in the centre of the group and was the largest in diameter and a little more intense green in colour. It seems to be in flower at the moment, with a creamy white flower poking out of the water, its petals spreading out in layers, large and beautiful in shape. The breeze was blowing, bringing a faint fragrance, similar to the scent of white jade orchids.
Noticing Lu Lingxi’s gaze, Xue Yongtong stopped the car and said with some pride, “How is it, not bad, right?”
Lu Lingxi nodded seriously.
Seeing that Lu Lingxi was not being perfunctory, Xue Yongtong was very happy. He had been pondering about the begonias recently, which Gao Yongliang jokingly described as going off the deep end. Xue Yongtong ignored Gao Yongliang’s teasing; he and Gao Yongliang were very similar in a way, they both had the same crazy obsessive energy. Only Gao Yongliang’s crazy energy was used in product development, while Xue Yongtong used it in plant cultivation.
Whether it was the crystal orchids that Gao Yongliang had used to lure Lu Lingxi into coming here or these victorias in the pond, all of them had taken a lot of Xue Yongtong’s effort. Being able to catch Lu Lingxi’s eye and receive his praise finally gave Xue Yongtong’s heart, which was frustrated about the begonias, a little comfort.
“Xiao Xi is lucky to be just in time for the flowering of these victorias.” Xue Yongtong smiled as he introduced, “The weather is hot this year, and the flowering period of victorias is a bit late, but most of them have already bloomed nevertheless and there are only a few left.”
Unlike ordinary flowers, victoria blooms for just three days, and the twilight bloom is magical. On the evening of the first day of flowering, the creamy-white buds peek out of the water, and in a very short time they are in full bloom, emitting a strong fragrance. The flowers of victorias are white in colour at this time and are fresh and elegant. The following morning the flowers close on their own accord and wait until the evening to bloom again. By this time the colour of the flowers has changed from white to a light red and delicate. By the time the flowers open for the last time on the evening of the third day, the colour of the petals will have deepened further, turning from a light red to a deep red, with extraordinary splendour.
This was obviously the first day that this first-class victoria had flowered, and the creamy white flowers against the emerald green jade disks were very refreshing and conspicuous.
Lu Lingxi’s eyes shifted back to the white panel. First-class victoria, first-level peak, these words easily reminded him of the old willow tree in the village. He put away the panel with some regret. If an ordinary victoria evolved, it could have evolved secretly. He wanted to know the direction of the evolution of the victoria. But there was too much movement in the evolution of first-class plants. Thinking about the old willow tree’s earthquake-like disturbance at that time, Lu Lingxi put aside the thought of evolving this victoria. It would not be good if the similarity of the commotion attracted attention this time.
A look of regret flashed across his face, caught by Xue Yongtong. Xue Yongtong pondered for a few seconds and said tentatively, “Xiao Xi, do you like victorias? Uncle Xue will give you some seeds, so you can try to find a water tank to grow one when you get back.”
Victorias didn’t start out with a diameter of three metres, they grew gradually from seeds, but quite fast, so there was no problem planting them in a water tank. However, Xue Yongtong was not optimistic that Lu Lingxi would be able to grow them, as they were sensitive to temperature and needed a special greenhouse in the winter and it was difficult to get the right temperature for the first time. It took him a lot of effort to cultivate these victorias back then
Lu Lingxi was a little embarrassed and refused, “No need.”
Xue Yongtong didn’t allow him to refuse and insisted, “There are a lot of seeds inside the plant nursery, one pod can contain five or six hundred seeds. Except for a few that are left to grow, many of them are eaten.”
“Eaten?” Lu Lingxi was taken aback for a moment.
Gao Yongliang interjected with a smile, “The pod of the victoria is also known as water corn abroad. The seeds are the size of a pea, it’s delicious, Xiao Xi, you can try it later too.”
Lu Lingxi thought of the lotus seeds and understood somewhat; probably the seeds of the victoria were similar to the lotus seeds.
With the victoria attracting his attention, Lu Lingxi was not too surprised when he saw the crystal orchid. But to be honest, the real crystal orchid was much better looking than the picture, clear and transparent in the light, with a kind of dreamy beauty.
That evening, it was almost eight o’clock when Lu Lingxi left the plant nursery after watching the crystal orchids. Gao Yongliang drove him back to the city.
“How was it? Lao Xue’s plant nursery is not bad, right?”
Lu Lingxi nodded and said sincerely, “Uncle Xue is very good at growing flowers.”
This was Lu Lingxi’s honest opinion; Lu Lingxi felt that the good plants growing in Tiny Garden should be more Uncle Li and the panel’s merit. But Xue Yongtong didn’t have a panel and still managed to cultivate the plants so well. That was true skill. Moreover, Lu Lingxi could see that Xue Yongtong really liked plants and spent a lot of effort on them. Just look at the crystal orchid. This kind of plant was very demanding on the environment and was very difficult to bring to the market. Xue Yongtong spent a lot of work and resources cultivating the crystal orchid, purely because he liked it. Then there was the first-class victoria. The willow tree in the village had reached its peak state because it was hardy and had been rejuvenated by the power of nature, but the victoria was entirely due to Xue Yongtong’s care.
Lu Lingxi spoke seriously, with a sincere expression, and Gao Yongliang smiled faintly. He and his ex-wife were both too busy working on their careers to think about having children. The two of them later broke up and divorced, and he had been alone for many years. Sometimes when he looked at the children of his friends around him and each of them was rebellious, Gao Yongliang was secretly glad that he was lucky not to have children. But when he looked at Lu Lingxi, Gao Yongliang suddenly had a thought that it would be good to get married and have a child, and that it would be even better if he could raise a child like Lu Lingxi who was well behaved and sensible.
This thought flashed through his mind and Gao Yongliang laughed out loud, but he didn’t forget to say a few good words for Xue Yongtong.
“He doesn’t have any hobbies, he just likes to stay in the plant nursery. When he hears that a plant is good, he is eager to go and see it. I heard him say that he even went to Tiny Garden a few times pretending to be a customer. Don’t be angry, Xiao Xi, he means no harm, he just simply likes it.”
“I know. Uncle Xue is quite nice.”
Lu Lingxi understood what Gao Yongliang meant and the corners of his mouth curled up slightly in a smile. He actually didn’t have a bad impression of Xue Yongtong, he always felt that there were no bad people among those who genuinely liked plants. Moreover, the first thing Xue Yongtong wanted to do after discovering the begonias was to cooperate with him, an act that greatly gained Lu Lingxi’s goodwill and showed that the other party was not bad in character.
When he heard Lao Xue being praised as a nice person, Gao Yongliang laughed out loud. If someone else had said that, Gao Yongliang probably wouldn’t care, but he was relieved when Lu Lingxi said that. The child’s expression was all on his face and he would not fake it at all.
At nine o’clock, Gao Yongliang dropped Lu Lingxi off at the entrance of Xiaohua’s Home Cooking Restaurant. He had just parked the car when Yi Hang ran out. “Lao San?” Seeing Lu Lingxi in the car, Yi Hang let out a sigh of relief, “Lao San, is your phone out of battery? Brother Yan is about to blow up the shop’s phone.”
“Big Brother Yan is looking for me? What did he say?” Lu Lingxi asked as he got out of the car. His phone was out of battery, and he was so focused on the plants in the plant nursery that he didn’t pay much attention to it.
Wang Shuxiu also walked out when she heard the commotion, reaching out to poke Lu Lingxi with her finger, “Little bastard’s phone is dead and he doesn’t care. Yan Yue seems to be looking for you for something urgent, he makes ten calls a minute.”
Lu Lingxi felt a little uneasy; Big Brother Yan was probably getting anxious. “I’ll go charge the phone and call Big Brother Yan back.” He was about to leave when he remembered that he hadn’t said goodbye to Gao Yongliang yet, and turned his head to see Gao Yongliang getting out of the car as well. Gao Yongliang looked at Wang Shuxiu and Lu Lingxi with some surprise, unsure of the relationship between the two. They looked quite alike, but Wang Shuxiu looked a bit too young to be Lu Lingxi’s mother.
Lu Lingxi was taken aback for a moment, then reacted and introduced: “Mom, this is Uncle Gao. Uncle Gao, this is my mom.”
Gao Yongliang smiled and nodded politely to Wang Shuxiu. “Hello, I’m also in the gardening business, sort of a competitor of Xiao Xi’s.”
As soon as he said that, Wang Shuxiu immediately understood and greeted him with a smile, “Xiao Xi just went to visit your plant nursery, right? It’s so late and you’re still bothering to send Xiao Xi back, come in and have a glass of water before you go.”
Wang Shuxiu’s attitude was warm, and Gao Yongliang also wanted to get closer to Lu Lingxi, so he nodded with a smile and followed them into the small restaurant.
Inside the restaurant, Tiger and the others were not sure what was going on when they saw Wang Shuxiu smiling at a middle-aged man; at the same time they felt wary. They had been eating here for quite some time. The lady boss of Xiaohua was always polite to everyone, but it was the first time she smiled so brightly. Brother Feng wouldn’t be robbed by this old geezer, right?
“Tiger, what should we do?” One of the guys asked in a low voice.
“How should I know?” The man called Tiger was in a bit of a quandary, debating whether to go and inform Brother Feng now or find a place to prepare to block the old geezer later and warn him not to hit on Xiaohua’s lady boss.
As he hesitated, Erfei, the shortest of the bunch, asked, “Do you think we can still come here to eat if Brother Feng gets angry? Xiaohua’s lady boss is so good at her craft, I don’t want to go back to eating pig food anymore.”
“Fuck off! You just think about eating every day.” Tiger kicked Erfei under the seat and made up his mind, “Dapeng, stay and see what’s going on, Erfei and I will go back to find Brother Feng.”
“Hey, can I stay? I haven’t finished eating yet.” Erfei spoke up anxiously.
A bunch of people: “……”
Wang Shuxiu didn’t care about the commotion at Tiger’s end of the table, she was listening to Gao Yongliang praise Lu Lingxi. In the past, even cats and dogs didn’t like the little bastard, and the neighbours around him had nothing to say about him except that he was rotten to the core. Now it seemed that things had changed. Wang Shuxiu had been hearing people praise Lu Lingxi a lot these days. The neighbours said he was sensible, and Yan Yue’s compliments were fine, and now the little bastard was being praised for being capable even by his competitors. Wang Shuxiu felt better than when she herself was praised, and for a while she looked at Gao Yongliang even more favourably.