Tale Weaver #48: snow drops – Aunt Sally’s Garden


Image: snow drops by taleweavering


Aunt Sally grew snowdrops. And she grew them well.

She was the only person in our street who could grow such things.

It was doubly amazing as we lived at the time in tropical climes and snowdrops like and need a bit of a chill in the air.

Most people didn’t take a lot of interest in Aunt Sally’s garden as it was for the most part overgrown and unruly which was in keeping with the rapid growth of most things in the tropics.

Say what you like about Aunt Sally but she could garden. I asked her once how she was able to grow the non-exotic in exotic situations.

She looked at me sideways and beckoned me closer, looked around as if expecting to be seen and said: “Me neighbour was a witch.’

Now there was never any doubt that Aunt Sally was odd.

She was a tall wizen woman with scraggily grey hair from years of not brushing and a face that most likely saw a mirror as a last resort. She wore a long black shift and always had her working boots on, all day every day. She was the loveliest person, always kind and gentle and wanting to tell you stories about family and her garden. She used to tell me there was magic in her garden and I believed it.

Anyone who could grow snow drops had to have some kind of gift.

She maintained that her neighbour had given her the plant many years ago and along with the plant a small bottle of liquid fertilizer to ‘keep it going’ as she described it to me.

As you can see from the image above she kept it going pretty well over the years.

I asked her one-day about her neighbor. When I knew Aunt Sally the houses on either side of her had been knocked down and new modern town houses were both sides of her.

“Oh,” said Aunt Sally, “She moved down south said the humidity here played havoc with her potions. One day she came in and said ‘Sally I’m moving on, down south, but I want you to have this plant to remember me.’ and that’s how I came to have the snowdrops.”

But I know Aunt Sally suspected her neighbour left her more than snowdrops. I say this as she’d sometimes say not to go to the back corner of the garden after dark as there was something unpleasant down there. The back corner was where their two properties met. I know if I went near the place the rotten smell that hit you would drive you away.

But for all I could see the corner was like every other part of the garden. Densely overgrown with shrubs and lantana vine, which grew in weed proportions in the climate.

I ventured down there one night and again the horrible smell confronted me. But determined to discover what was causing it I pushed on. I pushed my through the undergrowth all the time untangling myself from the vines to find the most amazing sight.

In the middle of the back corner where the fences met was an orchid in flower. The plant was quite large and the small flower brilliant hidden all this time by the protective smell coming from inside the plant.


I took a photo on my phone and made my way back to my Aunt’s house. I wanted to find out what it was and after some searching if discovered it was Bulbophyllum nocturnum a very rare night flowering orchid.

After I showed Aunty we surmised that her neighbour had planted it there knowing it would be protected from prying eyes by its location and smell.

Aunty had a chuckle over my discovery. It was she said so like her old neighbour to do something like that knowing the plant would be safe in her garden.

“That Miss Marble,” she said, “I must tell you about her sometime.”


Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/tale-weaver-48-snow-drops/

This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writing prompt and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Tale Weaver #48: snow drops – Aunt Sally’s Garden

  1. Michael — this is wonderful!
    I thought I sensed some of Miss Marble’s work and influence in the story. She and Aunt Lucy would have made good neighbours, I’m sure.
    Snow drops and exotic orchids staying strong under Aunt Lucy’s watchful eye — even if she didn’t know all that she was watching.
    As usual, Michael, a tale woven by a Master Tale Weaver, Wordsmith Extraordinaire, and all round nice guy. (Added that last bit as we’re team mates, lol)

  2. Mandy says:

    I love knowing Miss Marble had a hand in this and, really, I wasn’t surprised. It seems she left a bit of her magic no matter where she lived. Sounds like one odoriferous potion!

    • Thank you Mandy, Miss Marble does pop up from time to time and as you know she did eventually move to Grimace Street next door to the lady with the grey bangs. And of course she does a way with potions. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. mj6969 says:

    Wonderful story. 😀

    And a serious question … since you do live in a very tropical clime – and since I’ve spent the better part of my life as a “professional gardener” – I need to ask, curiosity keeps this kitty alive, does lantana really grow like a weed where you are? Here, we consider them annuals – the only way to “save” them is to bring them inside for the winter, and most will not bother – and given the host of problems they often bring – terrible white fly infestations – so much so that in some years, they are legally banned from public sale – etc. well, I was just curious – because plants growing in their more favourable or native climates tend to behave in completely different fashion than when away from home.


    • In most of my stories Pat there is a fair bit of licence when it comes to fact…..in tropical places it does grow strongly…..
      here is a link to the lantana weed:
      hope that helps?
      Hope you are doing better today
      Take care

      • mj6969 says:

        thanks for the link Michael 🙂

        as for license, totally understandable … it was more curiosity on my part …

        wow! now that is something …. as so many things that are “introduced” as ornamentals and for our pleasure …. well …. incredible the impact it has on the environment and all types of industry as well. And here, we are thrilled if we have a “perfect enough summer” to ensure it actually does well in our hanging baskets and garden planters!

        I’m doing just fine … and will keep trying for that “more positive frame of mind” …. and since you are well on your way … … thanks again, journey safely and enjoy yourself 😀

  4. This was a fun piece and I am a big fan of Miss Marple (did you mean or is there a Miss Marble also?)

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate your thoughts.

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