Tag Archives: garden

2204. Garden gnomes

Sadie wasn’t greatly into gardening but there was one gardening thing she couldn’t abide: gnomes.

Marilynn next door was into gnomes in a big way. She loved them, and of course Sadie to be polite would express delight upon the arrival of another new gnome in Marilynn’s garden.

Then came the moment; Marilynn gave Sadie a gnome.

“You like them so much,” said Marilyn, “that I knew you’d be delighted.”

Living next door meant there was no hiding the gnome. Sadie couldn’t install it behind the shed. The wretched monstrosity would have to sit, at least for a while, in full view.

It was a terrible, terrible shock a week later, but in some ways a relief, when Marilynn died in her sleep.

The new neighbour is into pink plastic flamingos.

2189. Garden weeding, garden wedding

It was to be an early Autumn wedding. The timing was so that Olga could prepare her substantial grounds and garden for the occasion. In fact, Olga had spent the entire Spring and Summer preparing for the occasion. The colours of the garden blooms would match the bridesmaid’s dresses. The pagoda was painted a garden green. The bridge over the huge frog pond was fixed. The work had been tireless. The wedding guests were invited to dress casual. Perhaps a straw hat might do the trick.

Of course, Olga could afford the time to prepare. She had retired early, if forty-seven could be considered early. The divorce had thrust a substantial income her way. She was now a woman of means; a creature of leisure. Except her preparations in the garden could hardly be called leisure; she was there morning, noon and night in rain, hail or shine. What a perfect wedding it was going to be for daughter Naomi!

A stunning mix of red and white dahlias lined the bridal path. The only unpretty point in the arrangement was that it would be ruined by her ex-husband stomping down the garden aisle. It would be a brief but ugly sight. Hopefully the radiance of the bride reflected in the dahlias would distract from her ugly ex.

Honestly, if an alien craft accidentally landed in Olga’s wedding garden they would undoubtedly have construed Earth to be the loveliest planet in the Cosmos.

All was ready. Olga’s daughter was to stay the night. Tomorrow was the day! At last! At last!

That night saw the biggest storm in over a century.

2080. Clara’s wonderful garden

When Clara made a beautiful flower garden over the plot where she had buried her murdered husband she didn’t realize what attention it would attract. Her husband’s as yet unannounced disappearance had greatly enhanced the funds available to Clara, and she had splurged out on some very expensive and exotic flower plants.

She hadn’t been able to dig a very deep grave and it was difficult to see things in the dark. So it was almost inevitable that the roots of some of the plants were drawing nutrients from a fertile source.

“How do you get your plants to grow so healthy?” asked Rebecca. “The answer lies in the fertilizer,” responded Clara producing an as yet unopened bag of fertilizer. “Would you like some flowers?” And Clara cut the loveliest large bunch of flowers and handed them to Rebecca.

A little later Clara thought she would like to sell the house. There were too many unpleasant memories, and she wanted to rid herself of the garden plot. But she couldn’t sell because the new buyers might dig the garden up and discover her secret. So Clara stayed in the same house.

About three years later a man called in to ask directions to the local Flower Show and he couldn’t help but notice Clara’s garden. “Goodness me!” he said, and within a few weeks they were in love. He suggested that Clara move in with him, but Clara, thinking of her buried husband, insisted that the man do the moving. He moved in.

These days (did I forget to mention it?) Clara is extending her garden.

2074. Evening classes

When Melba took evening classes in gardening it wasn’t exactly so she could learn how to pull out a weed. It was so she could devise a plan to rid herself of something noxious in her garden, namely her husband. He was more than annoying; he was a downright pest. Melba never got any rest from his bragging stupidity. For example, he couldn’t stop going on and on about the evening classes he was attending. That’s what had given Melba the idea to attend evening classes herself.

Specifically it was the section on organic weed killers that interested her. It would be a lot easier to construe death by organic weed killer as accidental. “Oh I had no idea, Officer, that that was poisonous. I thought it was an antioxidant.”

And indeed! Melba learned that a sturdy dose of toxicity would be enough to rid herself of her garden pest. Her course finished next Friday. She would perform the deadly deed on Saturday!

Her husband’s course finished on Thursday, just a day before hers, so he would be home and available for dosage.  His favourite part of his evening classes on Rifle Shooting was “How not to miss your mark”.

2038. Edna’s unsuccessful foray into murder

Edna wasn’t exactly made of money, but she could get by well enough in her old age. She still had her independence and lived in the same house she and her late husband had bought many years ago.

The only problem was that the garden, although not huge, had become too large for Edna to manage on her own. She figured that if she made a few adjustments on her grocery bill (for example, who really needs fabric softener in the washing machine every time?) she could afford to have a man come around once every couple of weeks and tidy things up in the garden.

Edna had been a keen garden and was especially proud of her raspberries. She had cared and fostered them for at least forty years. The harvest of raspberries each year was a phenomenon to be admired.

And then the very worst happened. The man pulled out her raspberries and threw them away. He was “tidying up”.

In her youth Edna had read a story by Guy de Maupassant (about a fisherman dozing on a riverbank being hit over the head with a spade and his brains seeping into the creek). She wasn’t a spring chicken (Edna) and had gone to school in the days when they were made to read proper books.

And then she saw her opportunity. The man she hired was kneeling down weeding the garden where the raspberries had been. There was a spade stuck in the soil next to him. Edna went out and spontaneously grabbed the spade.  She raised the gardening implement high.

An old lady (or man) doesn’t have much strength but the weight of a heavy spade should do the trick and slice off the top of his head.

Edna missed. She hit him fairly lightly on his arm. It caused more of a bruise than a scratch.

The man packed up his gear and said he wasn’t coming back. That was that. Enough was enough.

To some people murder comes natural; others need a lot of practice. One can’t blame Edna for missing; it was her first attempt. Maybe she’ll have better luck next time.

2005. Ornamental argument

Christine disliked garden ornaments immensely; ugly gnomes and pink flamingos, plastic things that spun in the wind, little tinkling bamboo and metal wind chimes… The unfortunate thing was that Joanne, Christine’s next door neighbour, loved garden ornaments.

“Her place,” said Christine of Joanne’s garden next door, “looks like a junk yard.”

“Her place,” said Joanne of Christine’s garden next door, “looks so bare and sterile.”

The time came at last when their differences could be decided officially. The city was organizing a street by street competition: which house in each street has the best garden? And then all those selected would go into the final part of the competition: who has the best garden in the whole city?

Joanne went all out. She purchased ceramic lizards and butterflies, outside wall mirrors that made the garden look more spacious than it was, little battery driven water fountains… On the other hand, Christine maintained her garden to perfection – the perfect lawn, not a weed in sight, the recycling bin in a hidden corner…

The garden judges came. The garden judges left. A winner was announced. Congratulations Cassandra.

2001. Share and share alike

Micky was an expert at growing dahlias. In fact he had two special varieties of dahlia that had been catalogued and “copyrighted” and were on the online dahlia market. There was a variety called “Peaches and Powder Milk” and another one called “Water Reflections”. To be honest they hadn’t sold particularly well, but in no way did that curb Micky’s enthusiasm for dahlia growing.

In the same area as Micky lived Kurt. He too was an enthusiastic dahlia grower. Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts, he had never developed a new variety of dahlia that was accepted by the International Royal Dahlia Society. Kurt was as jealous as can be of Micky.

When Micky had to move from the area (it was something to do with his wife needing to be closer to medical specialists) he dug up all his dahlia tuberous roots, labelled them carefully, and put them in boxes at his front gate. The sign said: HELP YOURSELVES! SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE! FREE TO A GOOD HOME!

When no one was watching, Kurt backed his pickup to Micky’s gate, loaded the lot, and took them to the dump.

1983. Bird of Paradise

Rita and Carmen had been best friends for years. They were both widowed, and both had three children and four grandchildren. They lived not far from each other. Every Wednesday, to prevent a certain humdrumness, they would go on an outing. Sometimes it was just a cup of coffee in a café in town. Sometimes it was a bigger event, such as a visit to the city art gallery or a concert. Today they were going to the Botanical Garden’s Tropical Conservatory.

“Would you look at this one,” said Rita. “Such a pretty little flower!”

“I would’ve missed it if you hadn’t pointed it out,” said Carmen. “Smell this one here. It stinks!” And indeed it did stick!

“Look at this Bird of Paradise flower. It does look like a bird, doesn’t it?”

“They say,” said Carmen enthusiastically because she knew a little about the Bird of Paradise plant, “that the flower produces no pollen, so it’s generally great to plant if people are worried about allergies. Not only that, but they say if you rub a leaf on the palm of your hand you feel compelled to blurt out the truth whether you want to or not.”

“That sounds a bit dangerous,” declared Rita, rubbing the palm of her hand on a leaf. “And I might add that the way you slurp your coffee makes me want to spit.”

“That’s nothing,” said Carmen. “When I was having an affair with your late husband he gave me your bank account number and password. You wouldn’t have noticed, because you’re too thick, but a bit here and a bit there goes a long way.”

“You strumpet!” declared Rita. “So you’re the crumpet he so disdainfully spoke about; how your breath reeked of garlic and you were in need of a hefty dose of deodorant.”

The insults continued for another five minutes. It was a weekly event. In fact, one suspected that both had prepared the insults to hurl well in advance.

1955. Daffodil order

Dear Sir/Madam,

For years now I have ordered my Spring bulbs from your once excellent online service. This year I ordered the newly developed daffodil bulbs that have brilliant white petals with a bright pink centre. I was quite excited to see the buds forming. Then when they flowered they were all bright yellow. It was such a disappointment.

I contacted your Complaints Department and they said that it was quite a few months since I had made the order. The replacement time had lapsed and I should have made the complaint about getting the wrong bulbs earlier. But I couldn’t, could I? Not until they flowered.

I ordered these special daffodil bulbs the week the doctor told me I have terminal cancer. This was to be my last Spring and the pink and white daffodils were to be one of the joys of the last Spring season I shall see. They were called Delnashaugh Daffodils. They cost me $79.99 for 30 bulbs. There’s no chance now of ever seeing these flowers in the real.

Now that the cancer has spread to my liver I found the yellow daffodils to be offensive and inconsiderate. There’s no need to offer to replace them. I’ll probably be dead even before they arrive in the mail. It is so upsetting to have my life end with such a disappointment.

My friend Rebecca is an enthusiastic gardener and I have included her full name and address, plus half a dozen names of other daffodil bulbs of various shapes and shades from your catalogue. She would appreciate getting them along with the 30 Delnashaugh Daffodil bulbs, and I would regard your sending them to her as adequate compensation for the gross error you made during my terminal illness.

Yours faithfully
Mrs M. McPherson

1930. A brief (and silly) floral reflection

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Willow knew a thing or two about gardening. In fact, Willow had taken night school classes in horticulture over a six week period; two hours each week at the local high school.

Willow’s friend was Michelle. Michelle didn’t have a clue about gardening but would go into her garden and plant things, and pull out weeds, and water this and that.

“I don’t have a clue what most of the flowers are called,” said Michelle, “but I know that they are very pretty.”

“You should go to night school like I did,” said Willow. “That way you’d learn something and be an expert and become a better gardener.”

“Look at these lovely crocuses!” exclaimed Michelle. “They flower in the Fall. They are different from the ones that flower in the Spring.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Willow. “Crocuses flower in the Spring. They are one of the first flowers to make an appearance after Winter. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Oh how shallow it is to be a night-school-class graduate-in-horticulture-over-a-six-week-period! Those who know everything know nothing. Willow knew it all. She had nothing in her garden. Michelle knew nothing. Her garden was a picture.

The End.

[I know some of you will be disappointed in the lack of excitement in today’s yarn. For those who prefer something spicier, here is an alternative ending:

Willow was consumed by jealousy over Michelle’s beautiful garden. After a friendly salad luncheon at Michelle’s place, Willow suddenly opened her purse and pulled out a pistol. She pulled the trigger and Michelle slumped to the ground. As Michelle lay dying she was heard to exclaim, “Ha! Ha! Ha! I poisoned the salad!”]