Gardening Disasters Part 1: Disowned by My Dad

For a moment, it seemed as if my heart had forgotten to keep beating. The rhythmic aortic thud that is usually unnoticeable, now became an object of focus as I struggled to exhale. Such beauty! Such grandeur! I stared at the online advert so hard, that my eyes forgot to blink and while I came to terms with the fact that they desperately needed lubrication, my imagination went into overdrive.

I closed my eyes shut and saw a cluster of roses in their most vibrant yellow. There were at least 65 open buds closely strung together on a luscious green vine. Looking like little droplets of Easter chicks, they cascaded down my garden fence and spread along the back border as if an invisible sea tide was pushing them along towards me. On the opposite side were a pale pink variety which nestled perfectly under our eucalyptus tree. From far away, it looked as though a shrub had been crafted out of fluffy marshmallows – up close, it was like that area had been smothered in candyfloss.

My dreaming continued as I brought my mind to the front corner of the lawn where I pictured sparkling white blooms on one side and fuchsia one on the other.

“Oh how beautiful my garden will look!”

I glanced back at the spectacular picture on screen, and wondered how an Ebay seller would transport my pack of 4 climbing roses to me. And how long will it take for my purchase to look like that? Naturally, the garden in the advert was immaculate. The lawn was the brightest green you’ve ever seen without needing to wear sunshades, and there was not one dandelion stalk in sight. The roses in all different shades, had no wilting brown edges and the fence they trailed over had no missing notches of wood. Ours had several holes, because my daughter and the young girl next door loved poking their fingers through loose bits. They would then peer through the gaps into each other’s territory and by their feet would be little brown circles where the pieces had fallen.

I waited. I mean, waited. Nine weeks on, and the planted stalks hadn’t sprouted any roses at all. I’m not a gardener, but instinct told me that something wasn’t quite right. My purchase had arrived resembling 4 ugly twigs that had fallen from an oak after midnight storm.

Did the vendor walk through the woods one day while walking his dog and have an epiphany? An idea for a scam? Did his golden retriever run up to him with a stick in its mouth, inspiring him to try to sell it to an unsuspecting fool who was craving to see their garden transformed into Eden?

I mused a while longer.

Was he a Dragon’s Den reject, eager to get his own back on somebody, because he was humiliated by four cocky millionaires who laughed at his business idea?

“I’ll teach them! I’ll show them I’m an entrepreneur! I’ll get some scraps of wood and set up an Ebay shop. Won’t be so easy with Etsy – I can’t say a twig was handmade, but I could certainly pretend that flowers are gonna sprout from this thing and have idiots bidding on it.”

I stared forlornly at the four brown oddities that were sticking out of the soil. I was depressed. Hope deferred makes the heart sick and even sicker when one realises they’ve been conned. Or had I? The instruction booklet said that I’d see flowers beginning to emerge within 6 weeks, but what if the fault was my soil? Nothing that I had planted in the past had grown and my husband Anwar, had said that it was because the previous house owners hadn’t installed proper drainage under the earth. Umm…our St. John’s Wort bush was doing okay. There were only a few flowers on it, but knowing that this species was well-known for lifting people’s moods, I felt like running outside and shoving the whole lot into my mouth.

Anwar began to feel sorry for me. To stop me moping about like Eeyore on a bad day, he decided to take me out for a meal.

“Have you booked a babysitter?” He asked as the time drew nearer.

Yep, they’re coming at 6:30 tomorrow.” I replied with a more cheerful voice than he’d heard in weeks.

When they arrived the next day, I opened my front door to find them both looking a little nervous.

“Hi Dawn…Dave… what’s up?”

“Nothing.” He lied.

Now, this delightful couple are gardeners. They know their rakes from their hoes and their Ragworts from their Knotweeds.

“Could I just ask you Dave, to look at my roses? They’re not growing at all! It’s been almost eleven weeks now.”

He bit his lip and avoided eye contact. One of the ‘sticks’ was lodged in the front garden by the hedge.

“I’ve just looked at that one.” He said.

“Ah, what is your verdict?”

Another lip bite – more intense this time.

“Well, actually Sharon…you’ve planted them all upside down.”

Someone should invent a game and call it, ‘You’ve not been humiliated until you have…’ I’d win it hands down. I was mortified.

I looked at the pathetic specimen that Dave had just passed on his way onto our property and it looked fine to me.

“Before you say anything…I’ve already turned that one the right way up.”


When my dad heard about this mishap, he wasn’t parsimonious with his words. He is green-fingered and can grow cacti in a swimming pool.

“Didn’t you realise that all those raggedly bits sticking up were roots?

His choleric rebuke ended with a harsh,

“I’m ashamed that a daughter of mine could do such a stupid thing! How could you make such a silly mistake? This story is not funny – my goodness, it is ridiculous!”

So, I hang my head I shame and admit that I’m not too good with flowers.

Alas, my garden remained bare and lifeless. The corners grew moss and ivy that spilled over from the garden next door.

The St. John’s Wort is still there though. But no flowers are on it. In despair, I scoffed them all.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s