Flash fiction: Dreams of gardens

This was written using Ronovan’s Friday Fiction prompt. Too late for me to enter ( I’ve had my hands full this week) but take a look at the other stories. They are always worth reading. The theme is a celebration of life.

Photo ©Vera Buhl

1280px-2010-04-16_(46)_Traubenhyazinthe,_Grape_hyacinth,_Muscari_botryoides

I had always dreamt of having a wild garden. Neat, tame gardens with neat lawns and rainbow-coloured borders had never held much appeal for me. Trees, was what I wanted, but not massive trees that threw so much shade nothing grew beneath them except shadows. I wanted light, graceful trees that fluttered in the wind and set dappled patterns dancing through long grasses dotted with wildflowers. Apple trees and plum, birch and rowan, that’s what I wished for, and sunny glades where rabbits watched and squirrels darted. I’d have a little valley with a stream running over mossy stones, and a hill yellow with gorse. More than a dream house I had had a dream garden. The house would grow out of the garden, full of wooden beams and mossy stone walls, house leeks on the roof tiles and geraniums at every window.

I thought this would be the house before we even got there, just a feeling I had from the photos, the quiet, thoughtful way it sat on the hillside among the trees and the cow pasture. The feeling stayed with me, walking from the village with the clouds hanging low and damp, following the ups and downs of the sinuous country lane, as it wound past new iron gates and barking dogs. Up again it led, beneath overhanging trees, leaving the new houses and the barking dogs behind. Then down, winding, through greenery and damp almost rain.

To the right, beneath the low branches of a clump of hazels, sprouted the rusted iron railings of a tiny cemetery. There was nothing to say why, or who, just an enclosure the size of a large car within a copse of hazel trees. Pots of porcelain flowers lay among long grass, knocked over by the wind or some passing animal. No headstones; two small mossy slabs. The gate hung on one hinge, the earth and the grass holding it fast. Running everywhere through the grass were blue bell clusters of grape hyacinths, trickling through the railings, in and out of ropes of brambles, over the bank and into the lane.

We passed in reverent silence, the calm seeping through the soles of our shoes with the raindrops that trickled down every grass stem. Peace followed, the twitter of finches, a couple of jays shouting among distant trees, the rustle of last year’s oak leaves brown and dry but still clinging to the branches. Beyond the hazels, beyond the next bend, the house appeared, sleeping grey stone, resting on the side of the hill, facing a line of poplars and a rippling stream. At our backs, lay the people of the place, unwilling to leave even in death. We strode onward, off the lane, through the meadow where cows had grazed, past the fruits trees, plum and apple, the rose bushes full of buds, and we knew that we were coming home.

 

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

2 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Dreams of gardens”

  1. Gosh that is just how I feel about gardens! Natural rather than restrained and controlled by man. I was gutted when my mother in law cut back my fuscias to little stumps. I wanted them to grow into big bushes. Now they never will because the main supporting stems are cut down to the size of twigs. Willows have seeded themselves and are growing with abandon. The gardener said they are weeds and should be cut down. When he planted some trees for me, I was disappointed to see them all in nice straight lines, equally spaced,instead of growing in groups, like they do in nature. Ah well. The rest of my garden is like a wild overgrown meadow. I will admit, it does need some taming.

    1. My grandma had a neighbour like your mother in law. He used to ‘help’ her keep her roses in order by chopping them down as soon as they showed any signs of growing. She absolutely hated that man. How do you keep the grass in order? I don’t fancy having to get a herd of cows, and I don’t think sheep eat the long kind of grass.

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