Tag Archives: garden

2447.  A lethal posy

Anthea had always been a keen gardener. Now in her retirement, if the weather was fine, she was out pulling weeds, or planting seedlings, or watering the vegetables. Her garden was admired not only from the street but by the many neighbours who profited from Anthea’s generosity. Not only would neighbours benefit from boxes of fresh vegetables left on their doorstep, but bouquets of gorgeous flowers arrived if there was a happy or sad occasion.

Anthea knew fairly fast the tastes of neighbours. Charlene had pollen allergies so lilies in a posy were out. Gloria and Dick detested broccoli. And so on.

Now it so happened that one family of neighbours moved away. The house was bought by the nastiest couple imaginable. When Anthea welcomed them with a box of fresh vegetables, all they could say was “About time”. The husband (or the male in the relationship) had an obsession with drones. Anthea wasn’t the only one on the street to detest the invasion of her privacy with the neighbour’s wretched drones going here and there.

Enough is enough. Anthea whisked up a delightful salad from the greens in her garden. She included quite a few chopped up foxglove leaves – by mistake of course.

As Anthea said to Prue at the funeral, “Let’s hope any new neighbours are a lot lovelier.”

2388. Magnificent rhododendrons and azaleas

It would be foolish to suggest that Curtis had done it all his life. He hadn’t done it all his life, but began developing his specialized rhododendron garden park in his early thirties. He had won a heap of money in the lottery and thought, “Why do I need to work? Why not spend my time doing what I love to do?” So that is what he did; he bought land and developed a magnificent rhododendron garden.

My goodness me! In the flowering season how visitors flocked to his park! It was wonderful. Entry was free. Every year saw an extension or an addition of some sort. In fact he had branched out a little and devoted a large area to azaleas.

It was a very sad day when Curtis died. As the newspaper obituary stated: “He died doing what he most loved – caring for the flowering rhododendrons and azaleas in his magnificent garden.” Fortunately he had stated clearly in his will that the Town Council would have control of his property provided it remained as a park. A huge sum of money was left for the park’s maintenance. The Council was quick to act; almost overnight the property was turned into a car park.

2327. Cucumber pickle

Marlene lived alone. She was a spinster. It’s not that she had anything against having a family; it’s just that the right person hadn’t come along at the right moment. She was now in her late seventies, and she lived a very ordered life.

Marlene had a small garden. A little portion was reserved for growing flowers. She grew only those flowers that could be cut and put in a vase. The rest of her garden was devoted to vegetables.

Of course, she needed to grow only a few vegetables. For example she grew two cucumbers, one squash, two celery plants, two tomato plants, and so on. It meant that her packets of seeds were good for several years, provided she kept them in a dry place.

This year Marlene sowed two cucumber seeds. Neither came up. She tried a couple more. Nothing germinated. She tried half a dozen more. Nothing happened.

“I’ll give it one more chance,” said Marlene. “Maybe these old seeds are passed their use-by date.” She sowed all twenty-two remaining seeds. “Maybe,” thought Marlene, “there might be one or two seeds that are still good.”

Nothing grew. There was nothing for it but to buy a new packet of cucumber seeds. Marlene sowed four seeds from the new packet. Within a week the seeds sprouted. And so did all the other thirty-four cucumber seeds.

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.