A Garden Tale


Nancy Bryans, Brunswick Forest

The weather cooperated, allowing Mrs. Spry to weed her perennials and prepare the soil for spring seedlings. She bought several large glazed pots which she placed around her landscaped yard and filled each container with an assortment of annuals. She anticipated a variety of blossoms spilling over the rims of pots, with other vibrant flowers reaching upward like the tall trees beyond her backyard. Mrs. Spry set her patio table and noticed movement at the far end of her property but didn’t give it much thought, hurrying before her dinner overcooked. She looked forward to a relaxing alfresco meal following another busy gardening day. She didn’t realize it, but the slight movement at the back of her property that evening was an omen. Within a short time, her months of planning would be dashed.

During winter months, Mrs. Spry designed a meticulous garden layout to achieve the punch of color and texture she desired for her backyard oasis. A precise person, she performed her due diligence, checking which perennials and annuals were resistant to predation. She invested money and time in her artistic configuration, and the nice man at the local nursery had assured her each selected item met her specifications. Evening approached, marking the end of this season’s meticulous planting arrangement and Mrs. Spry was happy the temperature allowed her to dine outdoors admiring her creativity. To memorialize the occasion, she took pictures of her new floral companions. She would monitor their growth as spring progressed into summer.

She awoke the first morning after the final planting, excited to check her handiwork. While walking around her garden perimeter, she was pleased to see perky plants and beautiful blooms smiling up at her. There must have been scouts in the woods behind her property, peaking at the eye-catching delights Mrs. Spry had arranged. During the second night, bits and pieces of new plants and flowers were nibbled around the edges, as if a taste tester had been there. She was surprised, but not worried since little nibbles did little harm. Several nights later, it seemed the taste tester decided to throw a party, inviting friends to gobble up the smorgasbord salad bar. To her horror, Mrs. Spry evaluated the scene. It looked like there had been a food fight, with some parts eaten, other bits tossed aside or trampled on the ground. Even Mexican Petunia was stripped of her purple-flowered cape and green-leaf gown, but they left her caramel-hued body unmolested. It was time for Mrs. Spry to rethink her garden composition. She relocated several pots with gnawed contents, salvaged some flowers dumped on the ground, cleared debris and returned to the nursery. A knowledgeable lady assisted her who said she had never heard of the damage described by Mrs. Spry. Marauders should not have been enticed by any of her new plantings. She suggested that perhaps the colorful change in the design layout attracted attention, but after tasting the collection, none of the looters liked what they nibbled, thus, making a mess. Encouraged, Mrs. Spry purchased animal-resistant replacements, setting the vivid array in damaged spots of her backyard.

The next several weeks saw her garden seedlings grow and bloom, providing Mrs. Spry with the visual impact she desired. She did wonder if the plunderers would return and who they were. She suspected deer. One evening about sunset, she spotted the miscreants, standing on sturdy legs nibbling from overflowing flower pots. She sighed as she spied the naughty little dears with floppy big ears and powder-puff cottontails enjoying their bountiful bunny buffet.