Garden Stories

You can read Kane’s story from the beginning here

Kane sat hunched over at the table. He had never liked the idea of seances. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t know what to do,” he said helplessly. “Normally the ghost is in front of me and ready to talk.” In his experience, getting a ghost to talk wasn’t the problem. The problem he had was getting them to shut up in the first place.

“But Joan said that you were very good,” Sandra said helplessly.

Kane managed an apologetic smile. “Nancy was very close to her all the time,” he said. “I didn’t need to look.”

“Well, here are mother’s ashes,” Sandra said, placing the urn in the centre of the table. She looked around the family huddled around. “And I’ve lit some candles. Why don’t we hold hands and see if anyone is there?”

“There’s no need for that!” a ghost behind Sandra said sharply. “I don’t approve of candles in the house. They make dust.”

Kane looked at her nervously, then turned to Sandra. “A ghost has just said that there is no need to light candles and that they make dust. Is that your mother?”

Sandra’s eyes went wide. “Yes, that sounds like her. Ask her if her name is Pearl?”

“Honestly, you would think she would know better,” Pearl sighed. “You never give a tarot reader or medium any clues. It makes it harder for you to swindle them.” She glared at Kane. “I know your sort. But yes, I’m her mother and you can tell her from me that she’s being ridiculous. The will was with the solicitor, the money was in the red handbag and Tony took the dog. What more does she want?”

“Is she at peace?” Sandra asked.

Kane wondered how he could tactfully pass on Pearl’s opinions. “Um, I think your mother doesn’t know why you are asking anything. Did you find the will?”

Sandra nodded. “We got in touch with the solicitor. She’d hidden a load of money in her red handbag, but we found that pretty quickly, and we knew that she always wanted Tony to have the dog. And we sold the bungalow, just like she said in the will and everything was split.” She fought back tears. “The funeral was lovely.”

“I know,” Pearl said smugly. “And much better than my sister-in-law’s memorial. Mind you, her family was always a bit peculiar.”

“Your mother said that she thought the funeral was fine,” Kane said. “What is it that you need to know?”

Sandra swallowed. “I miss my mum,” she said, her voice breaking slightly. “And the thing I always remember are the flowers in the garden.”

“I always loved my garden,” Pearl said softly, reaching out helplessly towards her daughter.

“I got a lot of the flowers planted in my garden now,” Sandra said. “I’ve got the same peace roses and asters. I’ve kept up to the wallflowers and alyssum, but there’s one plant I can’t find.”

“You have to be tough, when you have seven kids,” Pearl said. “I had to keep them in order. But I let them enjoy the garden. That was something a little different.”

“Mum could be a bit fierce,” Sandra said, with breath-taking understatement. “But when we were out in the garden, she’d tell us stories and show us stuff. She’d make the snapdragons pop for us and save the seeds so that we could see the faces in the seed pods.”

“Snapdragon, or antirrhinum,” Pearl said. “The seed pods look like little skulls – very spooky for kids. I grew sunflowers as well. I used to have all the kids, and the grandkids and great grandkids after them, plant sunflower seeds and we’d measure them and the one who got the tallest flower would get a little chocolate bar. And come Halloween we’d carve the pumpkins I’d grown and we’d save the seed…” Pearl trailed off.

“My happiest memory is of my mum in a garden,” Sandra said. “She grew one plant, and I could never remember its name. I always called it, ‘fairy silver’ and mum used to talk about the elves and the moon. I can’t find that plant anywhere. It’s the only one I can’t find, but it’s the one that always seemed the most magical. I need to know what it was.”

The ghost of Pearl swallowed. “I didn’t realise, I didn’t know how much it meant,” she said. “I would have told her.” For a moment she shut her eyes and a trace of a phantom tear slid down her face. “It’s honesty, or moonflower, fancy name lunaria. You can get the seeds on the internet. It’s quite common. I got the variety with purple flowers.”

Kane relayed the information to Sandra. “I don’t know much about gardens, but it sounds pretty,” he said.

Sandra nodded. “It really is,” she said. “And it will always be full of stories for me.”

Pearl blinked back tears as she faded. “As long as she remembers to tell those stories to her kids,” she said. “And her grandkids.”

“She’s gone,” Kane said.

Sandra shook her head. “Not while I’ve got a garden,” she said. “And I can share her stories.”

Image from Unsplash, taken by Paul Berry

2 thoughts on “Garden Stories

    1. Kane is such a sweetie. Please feel free to prod me now and again to keep him going.

      I’m glad you enjoyed seeing him.

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