A garden of talking flowers.
|B. The Garden of Live Flowers
1. "Talking Heads" – Oh, if these flowers could speak – write a short story or poem about a garden full of flowers having a conversation. (<1000 words)
The Author’s Tale
On the way from Halfway to Lookinglass, there is a garden bounded by a tall hedge that forms the boundary on one side of the road. The hedge is too tall to see over but, in the middle of the hedge, there is a white picket gate that gives the traveller a view of what lies beyond.
When Alice, the Veldskoen and the author came walking along the road, this gate allowed them to see that a beautiful garden filled the area inside the hedge. It was planted with many different flowers, all in magnificent bloom, and was a kaleidoscope of colour as a result.
Alice squealed with joy at the sight and insisted that they enter the garden. The author was not so eager, his recent experience having made him somewhat wary of unfamiliar circumstances.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It may be trespassing and I don’t want to be arrested again for breaking the law.”
A voice spoke, apparently from nowhere, since the three could see no one apart from themselves. “It be legal alright,” said the voice. “And yon gate’s not locked. Just lift the latch and walk in.”
“Who said that?” asked the author.
It was the Veldskoen that answered his question. Being much smaller than the other two, he had been able to see something that was beneath their notice. “It was this dandelion.”
Alice and the author looked down. There was a dandelion growing at the edge of the hedge and close to the gate’s frame. It’s bright, yellow flower appeared to be staring up at them.
“Was that really you?” the author enquired.
“There be no one else it could be,” replied the dandelion. “But, if ye be going into the garden, there be a favour ye could do me.”
“I’m sure we’d be happy to oblige,” assured the author.
The dandelion waved its leaves in gratitude. “Thank ye. Would ye look around the garden for my children? They were all here this morning, sitting nicely in a cluster on the end of this stalk, but I must have dozed off and they have disappeared.”
“What do they look like?” asked Alice.
“Oh, they be tall for their age and have beautiful, fluffy white hair. Ye’ll know if ye see them.”
“Certainly we shall keep an eye out for them,” said the author. “We’ll have a quick look round and then let you know how we got on.”
“Most kind of ye,” replied the dandelion.
The author lifted the latch and the three friends entered the garden.
Several paths divided the garden into different flower beds. Within these, all sorts of flowers bloomed and waved their heads slowly in the breeze. There was no separation into types, each bed being an assortment of various colours and shapes of bloom. The author took a deep breath of the scent-laden air and exclaimed, “If it weren’t such a cliché, I’d say this is a riot of colour.”
“Hardly a riot,” said a deep, purple voice. “We’re all law abiding in here.”
The author remembered to look downwards. An exquisite little crocus gazed back at him. He bent down to speak to the flower.
“I’m glad to hear it,” he said. Alice crouched down next to him to talk to the crocus.
“”Can you all talk?” she asked.
“Certainly can,” answered the crocus.
“Why is it so quiet in here then?” enquired Alice.
“Oh, they’re all waiting for you to introduce yourselves,” explained the crocus. “Normally we don’t talk much because everything has been discussed before. But we love to hear news from outside.”
There was a murmur of sound from the garden that the three friends presumed was agreement. A nearby fuchsia burst out, “Ooh, I can’t contain myself no longer. Tell us what’s ‘appenin’ in the world. Are the bells still ringin’ in Camberley Town, do the bats still fly in Deeplin’ Woods, is the ‘Underfell ‘Unt still chasin' the fox? And where do you come from and where do you go, what ‘ave you done and what will you do? Tell us, oh, tell us, or I will explode.”
The author sat down with the fuchsia to tell all he knew, while Alice and the Veldskoen went their separate ways to talk to other flowers. The Veldskoen met an imposing chrysanthemum, orange in colour, and very formal in speech. They spent a few moments discussing the weather.
Alice went down several paths, talking to the flowers as she walked. Eventually she came to a white rose upon a single, thorny stem. She lingered, long having had a soft spot for roses, and her new friend told her much that Alice knew already and even more that she didn’t.
So passed the afternoon in wide-ranging and informative conversations until, by chance, the three friends found themselves in the circular space in the middle of the garden. At the same time a thought struck the Veldskoen.
“The dandelion,” he said. “We haven’t been looking for the dandelion’s children!”
Alice waved a nonchalant hand. “Oh, no need to worry about that. She meant the seeds that made up her puffy white seed head. No doubt the breeze has scattered the seeds far and wide, just as it is supposed to do.”
“Even so, we should get back to her,” said the author.
They hurried down the paths until they arrived at the gate. To one side stood the dandelion, her flower now a mass of puffy seeds.
“Dandelions mature so quickly,” said Alice.
Word Count: 917