A Different Kind of Short Story

Friends from the Garden

The sun shone brightly upon the earth below as greenery and life awoke in the backyard garden from its long winter’s nap.

“Susan. Hey, how are you? It is so good to see you again this year. How was your nap?

“It was good Daisy, how was yours?”

“It was good. Feels so great to stretch towards the warmth of the sun.”

“It looks like you have a part there that is not wanting to stretch out.”

“It was a hard winter. I had ice packed in all around me. Hoping the sun will tease it on out.”

“Well, hello there my little beautiful friends.”

“Foxy, how in the world are you? Good to see you rejoin us this year,” said Daisy.

“It’s always good to be seen. Did I miss anything yet?”

“No. We are just getting started. I remember last fall the gardener just threw out a bunch of old seeds in that empty space over there where Lupi was. It used to be just grassy weeds and such. Wonder what will grow there.”

“Oh, I remember ole Lupi being there by herself. Always complaining that her gorgeous pink color was being wasted away in the weeds,” said Susan.

“I remember back in the day when that was a beautiful bed of Lupines, Bee Balm and various lilies. The old gardener left and Morning Glories took over and choked everybody out,” said Foxy as he stretched his stalk toward the sun as new buds for blooms started to form.

“Glory was beautiful but a little wild for my liking,” explained Daisy.

“I agree,” said the every stretching Black Eyed Susan as she bent her petal toward the sun. “But if the new gardener didn’t rake up all of Glory’s seeds when he cleaned out the dried stalks last fall, they will be back. They are quite persistent.”

The sun awakened more wonderful life from the ground over the next few days and green sprouts of various shades were being seen not only around the main bed of established friends but over in the new bed where new life was beginning to show itself.

“Hi everyone,” said a bright red chrysanthemum as she popped up next to Susan, opening her bright petals toward the sun.

“Chrissy, hey. Great to see you again this year.”

“Anything new?” Chrissy asked.

“We don’t know yet,” said Susan. “We are watching across the way to that bed where the Glories took over. Supposedly the new gardener worked in there last fall. But we haven’t even see Lupi yet. She is usually up by now.”

 “I hope the glories didn’t finish her off,” moaned Foxy.

“Or maybe the gardener dug her up,” whispered Daisy.

“That would really be bad,” said Chrissy.

“Look Susan, those stalks are getting tall as you,” said Daisy as the breeze moved them around. “Let’s see if they will talk to us.”

“But what it they don’t like us, like the Glories,” cautioned Chrissy.

“They look to be stem oriented, instead of take-over vines. So maybe they will at least be nice. Yoo hoo,” called Daisy and she called across the yard.

To everyone’s surprise, several stems of various sizes and shades of green turned in their direction with help from the breeze, each swaying lightly. Some of the small stems already had small blue bell shaped flowers. The taller stems had larger buds but were not yet open.

“Hello,” said one of the small blue flowers.

“Hello,” said Daisy, who was always ready to greet anyone with a smile. “We in this small patch of white blooms are Daisies. Those lovely yellow blooms next to us are Black-eyed Susans. And a red chrysanthemum is stuck here in the middle. We wanted to welcome you to spring.”

“Hey what about me,” said the Foxglove being hurt for getting left out of the introduction.

“Sorry Foxy. This is Foxy, he is just getting started. Once he fully opens up and gets his height, he will be amazing. And that red beauty is Chrissy.”

“Thanks, Daisy. I forgive you for forgetting me. Welcome aboard friends to a wonderful garden space,” Foxy shouted over to the new friends.

“The call me BB. That is short for Blue Bell. My family comes from Scotland.”

“Hello BB, said a bud on a tall stem next to her. I too am a bell flower. They call me Tall Bell.”

“May be we can call you TB for short,” whispered BB shyly as she looked up at the tall stem moving in the breeze. “What will your color be?”

“Blue like you, but I am more of a star shape than a gentle bell like you.”

“What is that interesting smell,” exclaimed Foxy trying not to be rude of the pungent smell that suddenly hit the air.

A small quiet voice coughed from the back of the new bed trying not to interfere in the conversation. “Sorry guys. That would be me. I have a disgusting but realistic nick-name of Skunk Weed but I really come from the Spider Lilly family. I am a Rocky Mountain Bee Plant and true to my name, and smell, the bees love me.”

“That’s okay,” said Susan. “Some of us have different smells and some of us have no smell at all. It’s all part of the garden plan.”

“And some of us are liked for how we taste,” came a voice in the back of the original flower bed.

“Chicky baby,” cheered Foxy. “You came back.”

“Whenever I can,” laughed the tall blue Chicory flower as it danced in the breeze. How are we all doing this year? Oh, I see we have new friends. Hello.”

Hello came several calls from across the way.

“Have we seen Sunny yet? He was always such a hoot,” asked Chicky.

“It’s a little early yet for him. Plus the birds usually plant them and I have not seen the feeder get filled yet. Maybe soon,” said Daisy.

As the day wore on, they noticed the gardener come to fill the bird feeder with sunflower seeds so they knew that someday soon, Sunny would be back to visit them. The flowers chatted happily as the sun warmed their hearts making them shine brightly in the sun.

The following morning broke with a grayness all around them. Daisy hung her head and Susan tried to close her petals as a light mist covered them. While the plants themselves enjoyed the water, the flowers worried of bacteria and fungus being in the water that would make them sick and could kill them.

But by the next morning, the warmth of the sun was again surrounding them shaking off their fears the moisture had caused. Daisy stretched her head and followed the warmth of the sun. Susan and her friends hummed softly in the breeze as they swayed back and forth. Then a muffled gasping sound came from the bed across the way as something new was bursting from the ground that was loosened from the previous day’s moisture.  

The new flowers of the bed turned to watch a tall spike begin to raise its head toward the sun. Its top buds were still tightly closed but shades of lovely purple were being seen in the lower buds as they were cracking open to receive the sun’s warmth. The flowers marveled at the lovely shade of purple knowing that it fit so well with their various shades of blue with a few white asters scattered about.

“Oh my,” said the flower once it caught the warming rays of the sun. “That really feels good.”

“Lupi, is that you,” asked Daisy as she stretched to see better, not quite sure what she was seeing.

“Why, of course it’s me. I am the longtime resident of this bed. Who else would it be?” she asked flippantly.

“Well,” said Daisy as she looked over at her friends who refused to say anything, for what they saw was shocking. “I guess we are a bit shocked as you are usually early with us. We were concerned about you being late and…you look different.”

“I was late because I got extra dirt poured over me,” she said defiantly. “When I get my height, I will be as elegant as ever.  I am the same rose colored Lupine,” she said as her voice faded to a whisper as she looked over herself. He rose colors were gone. Too many years she had been in the ground and with age she had reverted back to the original color of purple.

“Oh, no. I am ruined,” she all but sighed. “My beautiful rose color is gone. I am now…old,” she said as she hung her head in sadness. Her tall spike falling next to TB who gently caressed her.

“How can you think you are old?” TB asked. “Your vibrant purple makes the rest of us come together as one. We have been shades of blue with the scattering of white and now with your beauty, you bring us together even more as a family of lovely colors.”

“Really,” she asked.

“Yes,” shouted Daisy and Susan from across the way.

“But I have always been a lovely rose color, now I am the standard purple,” Lupi said sadly.

“There is nothing standard about your shade of purple,” said BB. “My name is Blue Bell of Scotland, my friends call me BB. That tall fella by you is TB, Tall Bell flower and our white star shaped lily like flowers around us are asters. While each of us is quite beautiful, there is nothing as rich as you in this bed.”

“Hey Lupi,” called Foxy, “Remember, it is the Queen who gets to wear the purple.”

“You are all being so kind to me in my sadness,” she said sweetly. “Thank you. I have not always been kind in the past. I am so sorry my, friends.”

“It’s because you were over there by yourself for so long,” said Daisy. “Now you have new friends. Share your beauty with them and let your kindness shine.”

“Thank you, Daisy. And thank you, my new friends. I would be honored to share my height of purple in kindness to show you how kind you are being to me. Let us shine out together.

So as the Lupine, the various bell flowers and aster lilies raised their blooms to the sun, the kindness of that small garden reflected gently in the breezes as they moved through the yard all spring and into summer. And the summer fun of both beds brought in a new fragrance of peace that spread out through the entire yard making it a place where the small creatures, the birds and the gardeners enjoy spending much time.

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