Archive for the ‘Magic Garden’ Category

Pressed Flower Art is an age old tradition and worthy to be described as an genuine art form.  Sadly, it is not recognised globally as an art.

An alternative way of creating art from the wild or from our own planted gardens, Pressed Flower Art is as artistic and creative as any other form of art, often taking at least the same amount of time, if not longer to create.

Pressed Flower Art is a medium to create anything from key rings, fridge magnets, bookmarks, greeting cards, desk and wall art, wedding keepsakes, funeral memorial keepsakes, jewelry etc.

Pressed Flower Cards and Framed Art.                        

Wild Bush Flowers and Garden Flowers.Wattle Tree, Kangaroo Drawing and Grevilla.   Australian Native Flora & Fauna.

Pink Wild Flowers & Buds, Leaves and Stems with White Alyssum.  Found abundantly and freely in S/W WA.

Flowers From My Garden:

Thrift, Snapdragon, Violas, Rose Buds and more.Dianthus, Thrift, Snapdragon, Violas and more.Rosebud, Snapdragon, Violas and more.                                                                                                         

More Framed Art:

Romancing The Rose.  Folded Roses, Alysum and leaves.                          For Heather as she helps many to 'breathe easier'.  

 Romancing the Rose. Pressed Flowers and Verse – Success.

                                          

   

The last piece of Framed Art and Verse is dedicated to Heather as she has not only made me ‘breathe easier’ but many others here at Soul Food Cafe.

Her encouragement and support makes you feel like you can accomplish anything.  As I once wrote of her, ‘she has many diamonds in her crown’.

My first love of writing is still with me and I now include writing about my love and passion for nature, gardening, herbs and flowers.

More of my writing and Pressed Flower Art can been seen at:

http://seedsgarden.wordpress.com

Here I write about how to Press Flowers and create Pressed Flower Art/cards, Children’s stories and will include Herbs and Herbal Crafts and Gardening soon.

I also now have a website where my creations are available for sale:

http://camelotherbalenterprises.com.au

All images in this article are copyright.  Reproduction of any kind is not permitted.

©T.Seed 2009.

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They are made of torn up images from a book of plant drawings, rubber stamped images, postage stamps and pictures from cigarette cards

Magic Golden Apples

Magic

Magic Golden Apples In The Magic Garden.

(copyright Imogen Crest 2007.)

Magical Bird

Magical Bird

Magical Bird In The Magic Garden.

(copyright Imogen Crest 2007.)

Magic Garden Gate

Magic Garden Gate

Magic Garden Gate

(copyright Imogen Crest 2007.)

Have a nice weekend all

Where do pirates buy their spyglasses?

Why, fro’ the Aye Doctor, accourse!!

hehe-He-hehehehehehehe!!!

 omg-too-funnygwen.jpg

Magic garden

written in response to a visual prompt provided in the Magic Garden project (http://projects.globalteacher.org.au/)

 

Seeking respite from the outside world I chanced upon this “garden” whose magic is there for all to see but which is only seen by those who have eyes to see it and who recognise that beauty lies all around us.

From Little Acorns…

The little girl was kneeling in the dirt of the vacant lot, poking holes in it with a stick, and dropping a button into each hole, patting the dirt back over it afterwards. Poke, drop, pat…poke, drop, pat…poke, drop, pat… She was a thin brown child, with fine brown hair tangling around her head. Her arms and legs and bare feet were thin and brown, too.  The little boy watching her from the refuge of the abandoned car finally worked up the courage to go over to her. “Whatcha doin’?” he asked.“Making a pretend garden,” came the answer.                                   

“How come?”

“‘Cause I don’t have the seeds to make a real one.”

“No, I mean how come you want to make a garden?” replied the boy, rubbing a grubby tennis shoe up and down the back of his bare leg and jamming his hands in his pockets.

The little girl looked up at him with astonishing leaf-green eyes.

“‘Cause gardens are pretty, and this lot isn’t,” she told him.

He looked around the vacant lot. There were several abandoned cars along one side, and a few straggling bushes along another. The sidewalk at the front was cracked and broken, and the middle of the lot was full of weeds, overgrown grass, trash, and broken appliances that someone hadn’t been able to haul to the dump. He nodded. “Yeah, I guess it isn’t. It’s an okay place to play, except we’re not supposed to ‘cause we might get hurt on the junk.” He smiled. “We do anyway, though.”

“What’s your name? I’m Addy,” said the girl.

“Benji. I’m six. How old are you?” Benji thought the girl looked about the same age as he was.

“Six is good,” the little girl replied.

Benji thought that this was a rather strange answer, but okay, she did look six. “Can I play, too?” he asked.

“Sure. Anyone can play. I wish we had some real seeds, though. I planted some acorns over there, ‘cause I had some, and they’re real seeds for oak trees.” She nodded towards the corner of the lot, where the weeds and grass had been pulled up and soil was freshly turned. “That was all I had, though.” She shrugged and went back to poking holes in the dirt for the buttons.

“Okay. Where’d you get the buttons? I’ll get some, too!” Benji was bored and this was better than nothing.

Addy pointed toward a decaying pile of boxes near the sidewalk. “Over there. I think there’s more. I hope they don’t belong to anybody.”

Benji looked. “No, when people move, they put out piles of stuff they don’t want to take. That’s what that was. Sometimes they leave cool stuff, but mostly it’s trash they don’t want to haul away.” He ran over to the boxes and dug around, coming up with more buttons and some spoons to dig with.

The two children spent the rest of the afternoon pleasantly occupied, digging up weeds and planting buttons, making paths lined with small rocks and planning their pretend garden.

Benji was surprised when he heard his mother calling him home for dinner. “I gotta go,” he said. “Will you be here tomorrow? Where do you live?”
“I live over that way with my mom and my grandma and my two aunts and four sisters, right by a stream.” Addy pointed in the general direction of the edge of town. “Yeah, I’ll come back tomorrow. They’re building some new houses near where I live, and they have bulldozers. I don’t like bulldozers, so I came over here.”

Benji nodded. “Good. I’ll see you tomorrow!” he called over his shoulder as he scampered off.

The next morning, Addy was already there and waiting when Benji ran up, panting. “Look! Look what I got! I told my mom we were making a pretend garden and she gave me these!” He reached into his shorts pocket and pulled out a big handful of paper packets. “Seed packages! These are last year’s seeds, she said, so they probably won’t grow. My grandma got them at a yard sale and gave them to my mom. Mom said if they do grow, good, and we can have ‘em!”

Addy reached out and took the packets, spreading them on the ground and examining them carefully. “This is good!” she said. “This will be much better than buttons! Look, there’s alyssum and daisies and verbena and here’s some hollyhock seeds! And sunflowers, and snapdragons and all sorts of things!”

Benji was impressed. “Wow, you know all the names?”

Addy looked puzzled. “Doesn’t everybody?”

“Well, I don’t. Where are we going to plant them?”

Addy looked around. They had actually pulled up a lot of the weeds and grass yesterday when they were playing. “Let’s pull up some more of the weeds first, and then we’ll figure it out.”

The children spent all that day pulling up the weeds. Several other children that Benji knew joined them, and soon there were children working everywhere in the lot. They pulled weeds and grass and picked up what trash they could, putting it in dumpsters around the neighborhood. They couldn’t do anything about the broken appliances or the cars, but anything they could move, they did. Some of the bigger kids brought shovels. Instead of just digging holes like they usually did, they dug up the soil for seeds.. The soil of the lot actually wasn’t too bad, and it had rained enough lately that it wasn’t too hard for them to dig up. Some of the other children brought seeds, too, and a few days later, they laid all the packets on the ground to decide what they would plant where.

It was a lively discussion, but they all listened to Addy because she seemed to know what she was talking about. After a whole morning, the plans were made and committed to a piece of scrap paper. Each seed packet had a destination, now, and all the children got busy planting the seeds. Every child took a turn hauling water for the garden.

Every day the children came back and watered their seeds and pulled the persistent weeds. They were hoping against hope that the old seeds would sprout and bloom.

The adults had been watching this project with interest, and a few began to contribute to the project. One day, the man who owned the hardware store showed up with some droopy looking plants in pots. “These didn’t get watered the other day, and I can’t sell them because they look like they’re going to die,” he said. “Why don’t you kids take them and plant them here?” A grandmother showed up with some extra plants from her garden, and one Saturday a couple of men came with a trailer and hauled away the broken appliances. They came back with a load of old bricks and spent the afternoon helping the children make real paths where the paths had been marked out with rocks.

Another day, the man who owned the junk yard towed away the junked cars. The bushes got trimmed up, and then the miracle began.

Tiny green shoots started poking their heads up through the dirt. Addy just nodded and said, “Well sure. That’s what seeds do. They grow.”

The seeds grew astonishingly well. Along with the seeds, the attitude of the neighborhood was changing, too. The people began to clean up more than just the vacant lot, and flowers began sprouting in flower boxes and pots and small beds everywhere. The broken sidewalks were weeded and a few were taken out and replaced. Window sills and doors showed fresh paint. The people of the neighborhood were taking some pride in where they lived.

Addy just cocked her head and said, “My grandma said this would happen. She said beauty spreads in spite of people.” She added, “Sometimes she doesn’t like people much.”

The children continued to water and weed and care for their garden. Summer afternoons would find them working there, or sitting on the benches they made from scrounged boards reading books or talking. The littlest ones would pick the bright flowers and take them to their mothers as gifts. The adults began to go there and walk and talk after dinner. It was so pretty and relaxing, they just couldn’t stay away, and the children were proud to share their garden.

By the end of the summer, all the seeds had grown, and all the flowers were blooming. Benji’s mother shook her head in disbelief. “Those seeds shouldn’t have done that well,” she said, “Old seeds never do. And those hollyhocks- look at them. They aren’t supposed to bloom until the second year!” But there they were, tall spikes with pink and red and white flowers swaying proudly in the gentle breeze. There was another surprise, too, as the summer ended. The corner where Addy had planted the acorns had been left alone as the children planted the flowers. But now, there was something growing there, too – seven small oak trees. They were growing at an incredible rate. Nearly overnight, they went from seedlings to strong young saplings. The lot was now a riot of color and beauty.

One day, right before school started, the children realized that Addy hadn’t been there for a while. Benji asked his mother if she could help him find where Addy lived, to see if she was okay.

“Which one is Addy, honey?” she asked. “I never did figure that out.”

“She’s the thin brown one with brown hair and green eyes! How could you miss her?” he said.

“Well, I wasn’t out there that much during the day so maybe I just didn’t see her,” replied his mother. She asked the other parents, but none of them knew which one Addy was, either. The children were puzzled by this, but then the adults really hadn’t been there that much during the day when Addy was around.

Benji’s mom took him to the edge of town near the stream, where construction was going on and the bulldozers were, as this was the best idea anyone had for finding Addy.

There were no houses, no trailers, nothing but the construction crew. Finally, Benji’s mother asked the men working there about any homes nearby, and if anyone remembered seeing a small brown girl with brown hair and green eyes.

“No, no one lives anywhere near here,” the foreman told her. “I’d remember, too, because I fish all up and down the stream here. We’re being careful to leave that alone – it’s so beautiful, there, with that old grove of oak trees. It’ll make a nice addition to this housing development.”

Benji and his mother thanked him and walked over to the stream and the grove of trees. It was beautiful, and when the bulldozers were silent, it was peaceful. Benji wandered away from his mother and walked among the trees – a huge old oak in the center, and three smaller ones ringing it, with still smaller ones on the outside. He looked up. The leaves were exactly the same shade of green as Addy’s eyes. He thought he heard a giggle behind him, and turned around rapidly. There was no one there. But the giggle had sounded like Addy’s! He heard it again, behind him again. When he turned, he thought he saw Addy out of the corner of his eye, but then there was nothing there. He wandered sadly back to his mother. “I thought I heard her, but there wasn’t anyone there,” he said.

His mother got a funny look on her face and said, “Did Addy ever tell you her last name, son?”

“Yeah, but it was something weird – Dry something, I think.”

“Dryad?”

“I think that was it. Why, are you going to look her up in the phone book?”

“No. I think we’ve found her. Let me tell you a story from a long, long time ago, in ancient Greece…”

-She Wolf (c) 2007

The Plum Tree

My cousin Robert and I walked down the sandy dirt road. It was right after lunch, and since we couldn’t go swimming again for an hour by our parents’ decree – a lifetime to lively 10 year olds during summer vacation – we had changed out of our swimming suits and gone for a walk.Robert claimed he had found a really neat place he wanted to show me, and since I was allowed to go much farther afield when we were together, I was game and ready to go as soon as our baloney sandwiches, Kool-aid and limp potato chips were finished. We grabbed three cookies each and raced out the back door, the screen banging behind us to the usual adult chorus of “Don’t slam the door!” It was too late. We were already halfway down the driveway and moving fast.

When we reached the small, little used dirt road we slowed down. The fine white sand of the road felt good under our bare feet, and we scuffed our toes deep into it, looking for the layer of damp cool sand underneath. The southeastern U.S. summer heat pressed down heavily and anything cool was welcome.

Robert led me under the big chinaberry tree and past the slough where a small spring surrounded by marsh oozed down to the river. Then we went past a few more houses and fields. When we came to a fork in the road, Robert led me down the wooded branch.

“Where are we going, anyway?” I asked.

“You’ll see. We’re almost there. This is where I got those plums yesterday, remember?Come on, it’s this way.”

Robert left the little dirt road, taking a path I hadn’t noticed deeper into the woods and away from the river. The path itself was clear, which was a bit unusual given the growth rate of wild plants in the hot wet summer weather, but I could clearly see the briars and thorny vines and stiff scratchy bushes growing close by the sides of the path. Well, if Robert could do it, so could I. Neither of us wore shoes, but at least I had a shirt on. Robert, like most of the young boys, only put on a shirt in the summer when he was forced to.

We carefully watched where we put our feet, as snakes were a real possibility, and followed the sandy trail deeper into the woods.

“There’s another way in, but it’s all the way around on the other side,” said Robert as we climbed over a fallen pine tree. We pushed past a last bush and suddenly we were in an overgrown clearing. I could tell that there used to be a house here, and a garden, but it must have been a long time ago. We walked into the area in silence. I stared around me.

There was the foundation of a house, with a chimney rising out of it, surrounded by overgrown bushes and with a pine tree rising out of the middle of what had been the house. There were several ancient crabapple trees and the plums Robert had mentioned. I saw the remains of daylilies about to choke themselves out and rose bushes running wild. The whole place was knee high in grass. Robert grabbed my arm. “Come on, over here!” He seemed a little bit antsy for some reason.

I shrugged and followed him. He led me over to a young plum tree heavily covered with ripe yellow- green fruit. There was no way it had been here when the house had been, so some wild creature must have accidentally planted it. Robert picked a plum and handed it to me.

“Here, eat this,” he said. I noticed that he didn’t have one for himself and was instantly suspicious. We were cousins and best friends, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t above a practical joke. He noticed my look and picked a few more.

“They’re good, really they are,” he reassured me. “Just take a bite.”

I thought about it for a few more seconds and then decided what the heck. I bit through the translucent yellow- green skin and tasted the tart yet sweet juice gushing out. It was very good, and I savored that first bite. I took another bite, and then, hearing Robert sigh anxiously, I looked up with plum in my mouth. Robert was eating his, too, and looking around the clearing. I followed his gaze, and my eyes widened.

The clearing had changed. We were now standing in the middle of a lovely old fashioned garden with carefully raked dirt paths. Roses grew everywhere, and I saw a huge camellia bush. The daylilies were in full bloom as were many other flowers in the bursting flower beds. There was still a plum tree beside us, though, and there were several others too.  The house itself was there along one side of the garden, two stories tall and painted white with porches front and back. A crepe myrtle grew by the house, along with several lilac bushes and there were pecan trees and walnut trees and young crabapple trees here and there. Peach trees dotted the yard and a grape arbor stood a little ways away. I could even see a sizable vegetable garden on the other side of the house where I had seen woods just a few minutes ago.

Robert said, “You see it, don’t you.”

“I see something…”

“The garden. And the house. And the yard. You see them, too, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Oh man.”  The relief was plain in his voice. “I thought I was going crazy. But if you see them, too, then it’s okay.”

I was looking around the former clearing some more.  Beyond the garden, washing hung on a line and I could see a barn with a faded grey exterior. I could smell pigs, too, and as I swallowed the next bite of plum, I realized that I could hear things as well. A mule braying, the pigs grunting, chickens and guinea hens, and last of all, children laughing and shrieking in play – the sounds joined the buzzing of the cicadas that had been there all along. Robert said, “It  all just fades away again after a little bit. I guess the plums wear off or something.” He smiled wanly.

I finished the plum, and Robert handed me another. Without any discussion, we walked away from the plum tree and wandered through the garden. It was fragrant and lush. Insects hummed and buzzed and birds flew everywhere. After a few minutes, we came out of the garden near the house.

There was an old hound dog lying under the porch, but he didn’t seem to notice us. We came closer to the sounds of the children playing and found them playing tag in the shade of a big old hickory nut tree. They were five of them. The oldest ones were about our age and they were strangely dressed. They boys wore faded overalls without shirts and the girls had different looking dresses on. The dresses were very wrinkled, like they were made all of cotton, and just looked strange to my eyes.  I looked again and realized that the youngest one, a toddler, was actually a boy wearing a dress. I thought back to the stories my grandmother liked to tell and remembered that little boys used to wear dresses until they were out of diapers. I turned to Robert and whispered, “I think this is the past. This is like when our grandparents were little, like the stories grandma tells, in the twenties or thirties.”

“I know. It’s really weird, isn’t it?”

The children still hadn’t noticed us, even though we were standing quite near them.

“I don’t think they can see us,” Robert said. “Yesterday, I tried to tell someone ‘Hey,” but they didn’t notice me.”

While we watched, a woman in an old-fashioned dress and apron stepped onto the porch and called, “Dinner!”

The children ran squealing towards the house, and a man dressed in overalls came from the barn. We edged closer to the house and peaked past the lace curtains in the window. The family, including several older children who hadn’t been outside, was seated at a long dining table full of food. Fried chicken, biscuits, dishes of vegetables, all were being passed around the table with gusto. Soon everyone was tucking in. The scene began to fade and I bit into the second plum.

We stayed for at least an hour before we decided we’d better get home before we got into trouble and weren’t allowed to go for walks anymore. We agreed to come back for a while that evening before it got dark.

We spent our afternoon swimming in the river with Robert’s younger brothers. It was nice and cool, and we had fun, but our minds were elsewhere.

As soon as we could, we finished our supper, made some excuses and ran for the road again. We had two free hours before it got dark and we intended to use them.

Since we both knew where we were going, we made good time to the clearing and were soon licking plum juice off our fingers. This time we could hear clinking and clanking in the kitchen along with the sort of argument that children get into over dishwashing. A boy was at the pump on the back porch, filling buckets. An older boy came from the direction of the barn carrying milk buckets. A girl was feeding the chickens. On the porch, an older woman was rocking the toddler and singing to him as his head drooped sleepily against her. We watched the family settle down for the evening, doing chores and just settling down. By the time we left, everyone was relaxing on the porch with newspapers or books and the littlest one had been taken in to bed.

The next few days saw us at the clearing every free minute. Our parents warned us that we were going to get belly aches from all the plums we were eating, and we had some trouble getting away without Robert’s younger brothers, but we still managed to get there twice a day. We learned the names of the children and a little about them – the chores they did, the games they played, the books they read. The littlest one, the toddler boy, loved to run to our plum tree in the garden and beg for the fruit. Usually some indulgent older sibling would pick one for him, and he would sit contentedly in the shade and eat the pieces they sliced off for him. We watched as the mother and grandmother tended the flower garden lovingly, and taught the children to do the same. It was a beautiful, special place that everyone loved.  The whole thing was like watching the stories our grandparents told coming to life.

Our constant munching was threatening our plum supply, though. We had tried other trees, both plum and crabapple, but none of them had the same time travel results that this plum tree did. We knew that we were going to be out of plums soon and our adventures would be over. Finally there were enough for one more day, and that was it. We were really upset by this. We had come to know the family well and were going to miss them very much. Somehow, it didn’t seem like they lived so long in the past; to us they were real and they were now.

That night we were grumpy and cranky. Our parents decided we were overtired and sent us to bed early, saying that we would have to stay home tomorrow because we clearly needed the rest. Robert retired to his house and I to mine next door as our parents sat on the river bank and talked. I fell asleep thinking how unfair life was.

I woke up around midnight, sweating and trembling. I had had a nightmare in which the house in the clearing was burning. I could hear the screams and shouts of the family, see the flames against a stormy night sky as lightening flashed and thunder boomed, hear the timbers crumbling and crashing. It took me a long time to go back to sleep. I was heavy eyed and groggy the next morning, and when I met Robert after breakfast, he was the same.

“I had a dream…” he began.

“The house burned down.”  I said.

“Yeah.”

Our parents’ decree that we stay home all day suddenly was all right with us. We had no desire to go to the clearing today, and maybe not ever again.

Over the next few days, we tried to worm information about the house in the clearing out of our parents without being too obvious. It didn’t do any good, though, because they hadn’t lived here then, and no one knew anything.

Finally, a few days later, we decided to go back and visit the house once more. It seemed silly, I told Robert, to be so upset. After all, they had lived a long time ago. They’d all be grandparents or dead by now anyway, fire or not. He agreed, and we set off. It was a cloudy, sultry afternoon with the threat of a thunderstorm hanging in the distance as we set off down the road one more time.

We were silent as we approached the house. The plum tree was empty, the birds having enjoyed the last few fruit in our absence. We were wandering around the garden area, remembering where things were, how the flowers had looked and smelled, the way the children helped in the gardens, when we heard someone coming. An old pickup ground to a stop at the far edge of the clearing, and an elderly man climbed out of it. We turned to run, but he saw us first and waved to us. “It’s all right!” he called, “I don’t care if you’re here!” Then he ignored us and went to the back of the truck to take out one of those brush mowers. Feeling cautious, we snuck over to the edge of the clearing and hid, watching him for a while. He mowed part of the clearing and cleared away some of the extra growth. At least that explained why the whole thing hadn’t gone back to woods.

Then he stopped by our plum tree. He looked at it for a minute, and then went back to his truck. He brought a large flat stone back to the plum tree with him.  We crept closer, wondering what he was doing.

The old man looked up at us and saw the questions in our eyes. “It’s a memorial stone,” he said in a quiet voice. “For my baby brother.”

“Was he in the house when it burned?” Robert asked all in a rush.

“Yes, he was.”

“Was he the toddler?” I asked with my heart in my throat.

“Yes…” the old man was clearly puzzled as to how we knew these things.

Robert and I looked at each other. I began, “This is going to be really hard to believe, but, well, when we ate the plums from this tree, we saw things.”

“The past, she means. We saw the family here, only they couldn’t see us.” Robert shrugged. “I know you won’t believe us, but it’s true.”

The old man looked at us consideringly. Then he asked a few questions about the family which we answered quickly and correctly.

He nodded. “Well, when you reach my age, you’ll know there’s awfully strange things in life that are real. I believe you. And that fits. My little brother was the only one who didn’t get out of the house. Me and my sisters and brothers, we took his favorite toy that he‘d left under the big hickory tree the night before, and we buried it here, because this was his favorite tree. I don’t know why we did it – I guess it just seemed like the thing to do. I’ve kept a plum tree growing here ever since. I guess he didn’t want to be forgotten, or us to be forgotten, and he gave you the memories. It’s fitting. I’m the only one left, now, and I can’t get here as much as I’d like or do as much as needs doing. I’m glad you can remember the house and the garden and us kids, the way we used to be.”

We stayed there for a long time that afternoon, talking and listening, living in the past in a different way, sitting beside that magical plum tree in the old forgotten garden.

-She Wolf (c)2007

The Garden

Mrs. Roberts had always had a garden. It had always been a well loved, well tended garden. She said that gardening was good for the soul. She weeded, mulched, fed and watered her garden. She also sang to it. She liked old folk songs best, but she threw in a lively hymn or two sometimes. She said that singing was good for the soul too, and that putting the two things together, gardening and singing, was the best of all.

Her neighbors loved to hear her out in her garden, working and singing. She had bumper crops of vegetables- huge zucchini, giant tomatoes, cucumbers the size of most folks’ zucchinis, and salad makings of all varieties. She kept the whole neighborhood supplied with veggies all spring and summer. Her flower garden, too, was a sight to behold. The colors of the masses of flowers with the butterflies floating above them had inspired more than one person to plant a garden of their own.

It was with great regret that Mrs. Roberts left her garden to move to a senior citizens’ high-rise across town, but there was no help for it. She could not handle a big house and yard by herself anymore. The new apartment was nice, but it seemed so sterile and empty. Even when all of her favorite things and the pictures of her family were there, it just didn’t feel like home. She hung plants in the windows, put herbs in the kitchen, and African violets on every window sill, and that helped a little. But it still didn’t feel right.

One day at the store, Mrs. Roberts saw a nice big planter. She realized that if she filled it with potting soil, she could grow some nice lettuces for salads right out on her balcony. She went home with four planters, soil, and seeds for lettuce, carrots, marigolds and tomatoes. The next day she went back and got planters and seeds for beans, petunias, daisies and sweet peas. By the end of the week, her little balcony was empty of the iron table and chairs that had been on it, and full of planters. By the end of the month, it was green, and by the end of two months, flowers bloomed and vegetables flourished.

Soon she was supplying all of her neighbors with the fruits of her little garden again. She sang to her plants as she worked in her little garden, and her neighbors grew used to the songs that accompanied her gardening.

You could tell which was Mrs. Roberts’ balcony from the ground. It was the one with all the green on it. Some of the other tenants in the high-rise thought she had a good idea, and they started growing gardens on their balconies, too. Most stopped with a few pots of flowers, but some had almost as much as Mrs. Roberts did. Theirs didn’t grow quite as well or produce quite as much – Mrs. Roberts said it was the love she gave her garden, and no one could deny that her garden was well loved. She said they should try singing to their gardens like she did, but most of them were too embarrassed to try.

Mrs. Roberts began to start small pots of flowers and vegetables to give away. She made sure that the pots were full of the recipients’ favorite flowers or vegetables and soon even more balcony gardens were growing.

And always, every day, Mrs. Roberts sang to her plants, singing with joy as she gardened because singing and gardening were both good for the soul.

One day, as she stepped outside with her watering can and little garden fork, she thought she heard someone else singing. It was a strange, lilting voice, and she couldn’t tell what the words were, but it was very compelling and beautiful. Mrs. Roberts was delighted that someone else was singing. So she listened for a little bit, and then began to hum along with the voice, eventually making up words as she went along. The gardening was even more pleasant than usual that day.

Soon she began to hear the other singer almost every day. Together, they formed harmonies and while the words the other voice was singing were never clear, the results were beautiful. The garden flourished as never before and Mrs. Roberts did, too.

In fact, Mrs. Roberts was feeling wonderful. Her arthritis wasn’t bothering her very much, she was sleeping better, and she just had more energy. She and her garden were both very happy. Her neighbors beamed when they saw her in the halls. “How well she looks,” they said to each other.” Maybe there is something to all this singing and gardening.” More of them went out and bought planters and soil and seeds for themselves.

One day, however, Mrs. Roberts took a fall. It was just as she stepped back into the living room from the balcony. She turned as she was shutting the sliding glass doors, and tripped over her own two feet. She tried to catch herself, but down she went, with her leg getting caught in a chair by the door. She fell into a table which crashed on top of her, with the lamp from the table landing on her head with a thump and her leg going snap as she fell. Mrs. Roberts lay there in the middle of the mess, out cold, with her leg at a very nasty angle.

Sometime the next day, Mrs. Roberts’ neighbors noticed that she had not been out on the balcony singing and gardening since early the day before. By the day after that, they realized that no one had seen her in the halls and no one had found fresh veggies by their doors for several days. They tried to call her, but got no answer. Worried, they got the manager to unlock her apartment.

When they went inside, they got quite a surprise. Mrs. Roberts was lying on the floor by the balcony doors, with an ugly lump on her head and her leg at a nasty angle. Of course she was in pain, but there was something strange about the scene. The odd thing was the small pile of tomatoes and cucumbers beside her, and the trailing bits of vine that snaked in the crack where the sliding door wasn’t quite shut. The vine plants had come right in and made themselves at home, with fruit growing right where Mrs. Roberts could reach it. She wasn’t hungry or very thirsty; the vegetables beside her had taken care of that. It was odd, though, because those plants were on the far side of the balcony, and the vines had apparently come inside and produced fruit in the span of a day. The neighbors decided that Mrs. Roberts must have been having them grow inside for a while.

Mrs. Roberts was taken away to the hospital, where they put her leg in a cast and said that for someone her age who had been lying there for three days with a lump on her head and a broken leg, she was doing remarkably well. They sent her home with a wheel chair the day after that, which was several days earlier than usual. Mrs. Roberts was delighted to get back to her home. The neighbors chipped in and helped with the shopping and all the little household chores she couldn’t do in a wheel chair. They said that she had been helping them with their gardens and giving them vegetables and flowers and now it was their turn to help her. Many of them sang while they helped in her apartment and Mrs. Roberts beamed at them.

Soon her neighbors were hearing her sing again as she gardened. It was strange, though, she always sounded like she was harmonizing with someone when she sang out there on her balcony, but no one else was singing. And she had said something strange when they had found her, too, but her neighbors thought it must have been that bump on the head.

She had said that wasn’t it lovely, all this time she had been taking care of her garden, and now it had taken care of her, too.

 

-She Wolf (c) 2007