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March 11, 2009


What makes this garden unique?

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Jim: Where They Come From

Fists placed firmly on her hips, Madra asked, “Why aren’t you in school?”

Leah rose from harvesting beans and stretched. “I’m not going back there, Mother,” she calmly replied.

“That’s absurd!” Madra spat. “What will you do without an education?”

“Jake will find work and support me,” Leah cooed.

Madra’s eyes narrowed as, once again, she began to lecture on the evils of men, especially that no-good Jake. Then she saw a tiny pink hand clutching a green cabbage leaf and understood. Instead of the intended scolding, she gave Leah a gentle hug. “Yes,” Madra whispered. “Jake will find work.”

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Caitlin: A Little Help from My Friends

Twice clockwise, thrice widdershins…

She felt like an idiot as she circled the garden carrying the bowl of blood and cow’s milk, muttering words of an ancient prayer. It’s never going to work, she thought. Why am I out here?

Desperation. She’d lost to Missy Thrailkill and her gorgeous tomatoes and her heirloom cabbage heads for five years now, and she’d be dammed if she’d take third prize again.

I’ll give her a cabbage head…

She placed the bowl of milk in the center of the circle and walked to the house. Who knows? Maybe they will come after all.

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Stacy: A New Friend

Cori loved to wander the wilds around Uncle Tobias’ house. Every day after lessons she collected her journal and went exploring. On the agenda for today was the freshwater spring, and a closer look at that weird hill in the center.

She stood at the edge of the pond, gazing at the moss-covered mound, when a deep, rumbling voice seemed to emerge from the ground.

“Well, aren’t you going to introduce yourself?”

She gaped as the front of the hill opened one great Cori-sized eye and regarded her sleepily.

“I am Heironymus,” the giant tortoise said. “Nice to meet you.”

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Dave: Quite Contrary

“Gah,” Graham said, covering his face against the stench. “What --?”

“This?” asked Mary. “Oh, this is my garden.”

Around them, tall, thick-based plants wove a crazy-quilt of vines. Fetid white flowers blinked here and there, petals slowly waving in the breezeless chamber. Large pods sat at the base of several of the stems.

“I’m afraid to ask,” Graham said.

“Here’s where I grow my friends,” Mary explained. As she spoke, one of the pods split open. Something man-shaped and slimy slid to the ground, curled up in a fetal position. Its eyes opened, and it began to cry.

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Stacy: Interruptions

I paced slowly backwards, pulling the rake, smoothing the tumbled gravel into orderly lines. With each pass I felt my breathing slow, and my ki become still as a mountain lake.

After recent events this mundane exercise meant more to me than I could explain. Raphael’s mizuko were anathema, their creation an abomination, a stain on his soul that could never be erased. It was my sacred duty to send him to Tamonten for judgement.

A deadly little throwing star appeared in the bamboo shaft of the rake between my hands, and an insolent voice drawled, “Thinking of me, love?”

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Michele: How Does Your Garden Grow?

"It is much easier to grow a garden with love than with hate," he said.

"Bullshit." She spit an acidic stream into the garden. One closed tulip opened up.

The little man laughed. He plucked an arrow from his back, strung it across his bow and let
go. It fell into the garden and a thousand flowers bloomed at once. "Like I said," he smiled.

She grabbed the arrow and turned on him, stabbing him until he stopped squirming. Where his blood flowed flowers sprouted, seeded and multiplied.

She smiled as impatiens covered his body. "I always hate your platitudes."

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Jeff R.: By Any Other Name

"So, you can eat from any tree in the garden except for these two-"

"Wait, trees?"

"Yes. What of it?"

"Well, wouldn't that make it more an orchard than a garden per se?"

"It's not only trees."

"And trees need lots of water. How do you irrigate this thing?"

"Ah. There's four rivers, from the north, south, east and west-"

"Wait, so not just two rivers crossing, but four different ones, all flowing in
and none flowing out?"


"I see. So it's really not so much a garden or an orchard nearly so much as it is a swamp."

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Ted: Bittersweet

Carolina jasmine by the front gate, with Doll's Eyes and Daphne lining the walk. Bleeding Heart and Wisteria compete for space on the font porch. Larkspur, Foxglove, and Lily-of-the-Valley fill beds throughout the backyard. Mistletoe grows in the Hemlocks, and Nightshade crowds the
Chandelier plant.

In the far back corner of the yard, Miss Beatrice, the sweetest little old lady you would ever want to meet, is collecting honey from the hives she has kept for sixty years. She says it keeps her young, and she could be right since she didn't even look fifty.

That's some kind of honey.

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LJ: A Yellow Solution to a Problem with Green

Those who lived in the garden were panicking -- the money tree was dying. So recently, it had brought forward bountiful harvests. Now, it provided only meager returns.

All this came when the people of the garden were choosing a new chief gardener. One pursuing the office had few ideas. Another thought of fertilizing the ground at the tree's base with fruit borrowed from others. The latter won, perhaps only because he had an idea.

A small minority sat back and shook their heads, knowing the tree would recover on its own -- it always did. No need to waste the fruit.

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