by Margaret B. Davidson
(Previously published in My Little Magazine in Fall 2000)
The smart little garden bloomed complacently all through the warm days of June and July. Her owner, Mr. Planter, tended her carefully, plucking a weed here, adding fertilizer there, and frequently congratulating her on her beauty. The petals on the flowers just swelled win pride, and gave off a glorious scent into the hot, humid air of summer.
In August, Mr. Planter left town for his annual vacation. The garden was left to fend for herself for two whole weeks! She was sulky and droopy for the first two days, but then on the evening of the third day there came a rain shower that did much to perk her up. The garden awoke with renewed vigor, her blossoms glowing brighter than ever, and her scent even more pungent. The roses were nodding their heads gaily in the morning sun when suddenly they noticed something different about the geranium bed. What could it be? The flowers eyed the patch of geraniums with concern. Then their worst fears were confirmed -- there was a DANDELION thrusting its way frantically up through the earth!
The flowers spent the entire day whispering and gossiping about the evils of dandelions -- how they were nothing but ugly, useless weeds, and how everybody disliked them.
The dandelion listened for a while, and then decided to take action. He first developed a fine head of seeds, and then his buddy, the wind, came and blew those abundant seeds all over the entire flowerbed.
By the time Mr. Planter returned from his vacation there were thirty or forty dandelions shooting up among the prissy flowers, and he was obliged to dig deep into the flowerbeds to remove the hardy dandelions. Many flowers were destroyed in the process.
The little garden was a sad sight. The elderly willow tree in the corner wept noisily into the yew hedge, and the hedge itself muttered about all those plants behaving like a bunch of silly seedlings. He grumbled that unless they mended their ways there would be no peace for any living thing in the whole garden. He, for one, had earned his rest and didn’t wish to hear any more bickering!
The surviving flowers sank their heads in shame. They knew they should have been kinder to that first visitor. Maybe then he would have spread his seeds over a much wider area, and perhaps the flowers would not have been choked out of their bed. For their part, the dandelions knew that they too should be more considerate of their neighbors and not go puffing their seeds willy-nilly all over another plant’s space! It was agreed by all that every plant did indeed have a place in the garden and that each, in its own way, contributed to the beauty of the place. How stupid and ignorant they had all been. From now on they would try to live in harmony with one another.
Now if only they knew what to do about those pesky birds.