Psst. Linda. My friend? She’s got spotty dotty. She told me herself. In fact she says she has it all over the place.

“Oooooohhhh-oh-oh-oh,” I breathed, with that little shudder at the end.

I haven’t told a soul. You wouldn’t. Well, okay, I told my friend Margo.

Spotty dotty isn’t something you catch. It’s not something you scratch. It’s something you score. The shady dude behind the dumpster in the alley that’s holding his coat open has a spotty dotty planted right in the cell phone pocket, right above all the Rolexes.

Podophyllum “Spotty Dotty” is a shade plant with gigantic, voluptuous lobed leaves in sassy chartreuse with reddish-chocolate spotting, and if you lift her skirts, you find pendulous cherry-red flowers. And if you want one of your own, she can set you back $54 for a 3.5-inch pot, retail. I don’t know what they go for on the street. No one I know has one. Everyone I know has put it in their nursery cart at least once and then put it back just before check-out.

So. Linda said “Want some?” Not want one. SOME. I did, Lordy, I did. She promptly dug up a generous bevy of spotty dotties with brazen rootage. I snatched them up and hid them in the shade of the house, out of view from the street. And called Margo. “I’ve got the package,” I said. “I can hook you up.”

“Oooooohhhh-oh-oh-oh,” she breathed.

We both planted our spotty dotties last fall and this spring they magically reappeared out of the soil. I’d put a plastic Virgin Mary next to mine just in case she had some pull but it looks like they’re fine on their own. Linda came over the other day and noticed my stash right away. “Looking good,” she said. “‘Do you want any more?” Ohhh.

Margo planted hers and I’m sure the leaves are a foot and a half across by now because that’s sort of a policy in her garden, but I like her anyway. We gardeners chat about what we have and what we can spare but most of us have all the same stuff. “Did you buy that Solomon’s Seal?” Linda asked me, pointing at a renovated shade bed, and I said oh Hell no, I chopped it out of the ground and jammed it in there with no ceremony. “Oh,” she said, “because I have a ton of that.” Yeah. We all do.

I’d like to be able to give her something, though. “Do you need any Alstroeme…”

Both palms shot up “NOOOOOO-OOO!” before I could get out the “…rias?”

Alstroemeria. An utterly lovely flower, it has, and it knows it, and thinks that the only thing that could be finer than a little clump of Alstroemerias is an entire acre of them. Alstroemerias are vain. Alstroemerias, a.k.a. Peruvian lilies, are bent on empire. I can’t dig them out of my beds fast enough. But it’s too late. You can put an Alstroemeria flowerhead on a pike as a warning, and the rest of them grow taller to get a better look. You’d have to scoop them two feet deep and send them through a sieve to get rid of them. And they’d still send out scouts for new outposts the next year.

What you need is a newbie to take them away. You have to get an East Coast transplant who’s all excited about the blackberry sprig in his back yard. Someone who buys tomato starts in April. Someone who says he’s planning to plant purple hyacinths next to Gloriosa daisies because of the color combination, and who is amazed and impressed when you tell him they don’t bloom at the same time. You have to find an innocent.

“I can get you some bulbs and divisions,” you say, once you find your mark, keeping your tone non-threatening. “I’ve got some stuff. Hmm. Would you like to try some Alstroemerias?”

He perks up. “Are they pretty?”

“They’re gorgeous. They truly are.” (They are.)

“Would they be okay in shade? Do you think I could grow them here?”

“Oh, they’ll do fine just about anywhere,” I said, evenly. “I mean, I don’t know. You could give them a shot, anyway.”

He looked eager, but hesitated.

I cut my eyes down the street. “First clump’s free,” I hissed.