The Garden

white flowers in tilt shift lens
Image taken by J Lee on Unsplash

It had been a tough week. In the space of three days I had left my boyfriend, moved right across the country to a new home and started a new job in a different industry. I didn’t know if I was on my head or my heels.

I stepped outside my back door. Than was something else I needed to work on. For the first time in my life I had a garden. I had always lived in flats, but when I saw this house on sale within my budget and five minutes walk from my new job, I went for it. Now I was regretting it. What was I supposed to do with a garden? I didn’t know a plant from a weed.

I slowly stepped forward onto the unmown lawn. At least I could recognise the daisies flourishing across the grass. It was sort of sad. Someone had really loved this garden, but I didn’t know where to start. I suppose I should start by buying a lawn mower.

“Hello,” a voice said across the overgrown hedge.

I peered over. “Hi, I’m Kate. I’ve just moved in.”

“I’m Rick. I’ve lived here a few years. I knew Mrs Carr, the old lady who lived here.” The tall man behind the hedge nodded politely. “She died you know, in hospital.”

“I’m sorry.” I said.

“She was very fond of her garden,” Rick said. “We used to talk about plants a lot.”

“I don’t know anything about gardening,” I admitted.

“I’m sure you’ll be able to keep up the garden,” Rick said with breezy confidence. “It’s low maintenance. I spend a little more time on my plot.”

I walked along to the gap in the sagging fence. “It looks very nice,” I said uncertainly. The manicured rows of plants marched in rows, ruthlessly pruned and trimmed and without a leaf out of place.

“Those are the shallots,” Rick said, “I’m looking forward to pickling those later. Of course I’ll add some of the chilis from there. That’s the brassicas. I’ve got chard, perpetual spinach, cabbage, kale and some tender stalk broccoli. I’ve got some sprouts coming in the greenhouse.”

“That sounds nice,” I said.

“I’ve been having trouble with the onions, so I’ve tried the old trick of planting with parsley and that seems to be working. And I have rosemary with the tomatoes over there.”

“Mmm,” I said, trying to look intelligent.

“Tomatoes can be tricky, and I’m having a spot of trouble with blight. The cherry tomatoes seem to be okay, and the yellow tomatoes in the corner, but the heritage varieties don’t really stand up to it. It’s only to be expected.” Rich’s eyes were alight with his passion.

I nodded, as if I had a clue as he raced on about planning for parsnips and the issues with carrots but I was distracted. Just next to the gap in the fence was an untidy drift of white flowers that looked out of place among the regimented beds. “What are those?”

Rick paused in his account of his flourishing garlic plants and looked uncomfortable. “I don’t know. They self seed and I like the way they look. Mrs Carr always used to say that they looked joyful.”

“I think you’re going to have to give me some advice on my garden,” I said, “But keep it in the same way as Mrs Carr left it.”

Rick nodded, smiling. “I’d like that.”

After all the hurry and dashing around over the last month, with all the tension and worry, something inside me relaxed. It was going to be alright.

The last flash fiction before the October rush. I hope you can enjoy it.

Please Hold

My time management is spectacularly poor. This is not a secret. I fail at getting things done on time. I’m trying to break that habit, but it’s a work in progress.

You may have noticed that there isn’t a writing prompt this week. I enjoy writing prompts, but I noticed that I was the only one taking part. This is not necessarily helpful. I also now have an editor who has plans for my writing (hi Rebekah, you are awesome!).

At the same time, life in the real world is pressing down and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. So I’m shaking things up a little. I won’t be posting any more writing challenges. I don’t think that they’ll be missed. I will, however, aim to publish one piece of flash fiction every week after the end of October. I look at it as my gym. The little pieces of flash fiction, quite seperate from anything else, keep my writing in trim.

You may have noticed that this starts after the end of October. I have a few deadlines swinging over my head, some for the awesome Three Furies Press, some for other projects. I have also signed up for the amazing October Frights, organised by Anita Steward, which is a group of writers sharing scary stuff between 10th October and 15th October. And, in the past, I’ve tried to post something spooky every day for October. I thought it was important for me to keep up the tradition. So October is likely to be very busy (and fun!). This year there will be a post every day of October with a little supernatural fiction. Around two thirds of the posts are old favourites. I enjoyed reading through the back pages of my blog and dipping into past stories and I hope you will enjoy them as well. There will be a few new pieces, though, with a supernatural twist, and I hope you will enjoy them.

After October and the wonderfully spooky time of Halloween, look out for weekly flash fiction, news of what I have been up to and book reviews. I have a backlog of reviews I have promised to do. Did I mention I’m appalling at time management? I’m sorry if I owe you a review. And I’m sure that there will be bits and pieces that follow on to all the strange places that my writing visits.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free. I am always incredibly flattered to think that anyone has read this, and I would love to hear from you.