Tag Archives: spade

1883. Garden tools

Let’s face it: Stella wasn’t a greedy person. She was a spinster, lived alone, and was retired. She had worked as a nurse all her life. She had looked forward to her retirement. “At last! After all these years I shall be able to potter all day in the garden!”

She owned her own home, and it had a fairly extensive garden. It was one of those gardens that looked bigger than it was. One could get lost in it. Go through a gap in the shrubbery and a new vista, a new “room”, was revealed. Stella had a “theme” for each area; vegetables, flowers for cut flowers, herbs, and so on. The problem was that Stella could live satisfactorily in retirement but there wasn’t much left over for much else. That was when her lawn mower broke down, her garden rake disintegrated, her hedge clippers fell apart. It seemed that at least half the garden tools had gone on strike.

It would be simple enough to replace a garden trowel or something, but to replace half the tools at once was a burdensome impossibility. Stella conceived a plan! She advertised through the local Garden Society that the following weekend she would have an “Open Garden”. It’s true! Stella’s garden was a picture. At her gate she would have a sign and an honesty tin with a slot cut in the lid: GARDEN SHOW: ENTRY BY GOLD COIN.

When it came to gardening Stella wasn’t simply a weed-puller; she was an artist. She arranged the watering can, and the wheel barrow, and the spade, and all the garden tools (even the broken ones), in a nonchalant way around the garden, as if to say the gardener was busy but had just taken a break for a cup of tea. It was artistic; it was… well… very Stella. The arrangement in the delphinium bed was perfect: all that the placing of the watering can and spade needed was a robin to perch on the spade handle to create a postcard scene!

The Saturday was sunny. Quite a crowd came on this first day. Stella didn’t want to appear to be nosy, but at the start she could hear the gold coins go clang as they were put in the tin at the gate. She knew the tin was collecting even more coins when it ceased to clang as if it was empty. What a successful day!

When she went to collect the honesty tin in the late afternoon it had been stolen. As had all her garden tools. Even her spade that awaited the perching robin had disappeared.