Old Mrs Handisides (Hannah to her friends although her real name was Allison) lived alone in a little cottage surrounded by what was once a cottage garden and now was a substantial plot of weeds. Once, a few years back, she had made an effort to do something with the garden, but she was not a gardener by nature. She had known a farmer up the road who let her collect buckets of cow manure which she spread on the garden. All that succeeded in doing was to propagate species of weeds that weren’t there before.
Mind you, having an unkempt plot of land didn’t stick out a mile in the neighbourhood. Most of those with some sort of lawn and garden space around their house had let things go more than a little bit. In fact, the street had quite a reputation.
Young Ocean McDonald lived with her parents next door to Old Mrs Handisides. She was all of twelve and interested in gardening. Unfortunately her parents had no garden whatsoever. Ocean McDonald visited Old Mrs Handisides and asked if she could have a little garden – on her side of the house – so they could see it from where they lived.
Old Mrs Handisides was delighted. “You can have as much garden as you like. And I’ll get you some pretty flowering plants you can use.”
“My father has already got me some flowers as well,” said Ocean. “So it’s all go.”
Within weeks the side garden was a picture. Ocean spread to the front of the house; and to the back of the house. It was a veritable symphony of colour! People would stop in the street and say WOW! Sometimes Ocean McDonald’s father would come over and give his daughter a hand. He seemed as keen about gardening as his daughter. That was when the police came and arrested Old Mrs. Handisides for growing marijuana and opium poppies in her flower beds.