Susanna Louise May loved all things green.
No plant was too big or too small to be venerated. She simply flipped over flowers, highly prized herbs, esteemed succulents, respected cacti of all kinds, and valued all of the stepables.
Susanna just loved any and all plants in general. She enjoyed learning new things about them, discovering different methods of caring for them, seeing new varieties she had never seen before, and most importantly she loved buying them and bringing them home.
When her mother would go on an errand to the store most children Susanna’s age would make a beeline for the toys, but not Susanna.
“Mom, I’ll be in the Gardening Department saving the Widows and Orphans.”
Mrs. May would shake her head a little and head off in the opposite direction towards the milk.
“Alright dear, I will see you in a bit.”
Of course a bit was usually an hour or more.
“I just need a few more minutes to make sure I didn’t leave anyone behind.”
“Sweetheart, don’t you want to buy something other than the Widows and Orphans this time? They are so straggly and most of them are half dead.”
“But Mom, I can buy these for pennies on the dollar. Besides you know all they need is a little TLC and they’ll perk right back up and be beautiful again in a few weeks.”
Susanna’s mother heaved a sigh as the ice cream she bought began to sweat and droplets of water rolled into her sleeve.
“Alright dear, I’ll head out to the car. See you soon?”
This was the normal way of things every time they went to the store. It had been like this ever since Susanna’s first experience with plants of all shapes and sizes when she was just a little thing about five years old.
Back then she was mostly just pigtails, freckles, and gap-toothed smiles.
“Momma, what is this place?”
“It’s a greenhouse sweetheart.”
“Momma, is that why there are so many green things everywhere? Cause it’s a Green House?”
“Yes, dear. They grow plants here so everything is green all year round.”
Susanna looked around in wonder at all of the plants that were hanging or sitting on every available place possible.
“I need to find a pair of garden gloves, so let’s walk over this way.”
Susanna was grinning up at the tallest sunflower she had ever seen when a diminutive grey haired lady with small round wire rimmed glasses walked up to her.
“Hello little one. Are you lost?”
Susanna was always told to be kind to older people and responded in her most sincere and honest voice.
“Oh, no. I’m most definitely not lost. I was just speaking to this very nice flower. I heard somewhere that if you talk nicely to flowers and plants they grow bigger.”
The older woman hid her mouth behind her gloved hand to conceal a chuckle. She didn’t want to hurt the little girl’s feelings, besides she talked to the plants as well to see if they would grow taller and stronger.
“Well, child. Would you like a tour of our little greenhouse? I could show you an amazing world from plants that float on water and grow so big you can sit on them and use them as a boat, to plants so tiny and indestructible you can walk on them all day and never hurt one leaf or stem.”
Susanna jiggled her head up and down till her pigtails bounced up and down as well.
“Well then come child, and we will walk until your mother is finished with her shopping. It’s a small greenhouse and she will have no trouble finding us.”
“What’s this one called, please?”
Susanna had already run on ahead eager to learn all that the kind woman could tell her about the green things all around her.
From that time on, Susanna dove head first into the world of plants. She had bitten by the green thumb bug and had been bitten good.
Mrs. May, Susanna’s mother, was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with her daughter. At first it was endearing that her little girl loved green things so. But now that Susanna was older and Susanna’s room was looking more like an indoor garden than a ten year old’s bedroom, her mother felt it had all gotten a bit out of hand.
“Susanna Louise, I can’t find anything in your room anymore. And why is there a plant in your hamper instead of dirty laundry young lady.”
“But Mom, it’s a shade loving plant.”
Mrs. May’s breakthrough came one day when Susanna was busy planting some former widows and orphans in the flower beds in the front yard.
“Oh, hi Miss Baxter. How are you doing this morning?”
“I’m wonderful, but Bailey here really needed to get out for some exercise.” She lovingly patted her pudgy brown and white bulldog on his head.
“Those are gorgeous flowers that you are planting Susanna! I wish you could come and make my garden the beautiful works of art that yours are.”
At that exact moment the answer to Mrs. May’s problem of too much green began to formulate in her mind.
She went into the house, logged onto the internet, and looked up gardens, but specifically miniature gardens or fairy gardens as they are known more popularly now.
Mrs. May scrolled through all of the pictures she could find about various fairy garden designs and examples.
Susanna walked in the back door and chuckled.
“Wow Mom! Miss Baxter sure does love little purple Petunias I planted in the front yard. I hope you don’t mind but I gave her some to take along with instructions not to over water them like she did the Black Eyed Susans I gave her last year.”
Mrs. May was busy scrolling through all of the pictures she had found of examples of various Fairy Gardens.
“Hmmm? What’s that dear? I didn’t quite hear you, I was busy looking something up.”
Susanna clipped her garden gloves to the clothespins by the back door and shucked her boots off onto the I love gardening mud mat underneath and walked into the kitchen to her mother.
“Whoa! Mom what is that? I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Mrs. May scooted over on the old piano bench that they used as a computer chair and Susanna plunked herself down next to her mother, stealing the mouse as she sat.
“These are absolutely adorable Mom!”
“I know right? I’m thinking they could be the solution to the little overcrowding issue we are having at the house right now.”
Susanna looked around the kitchen and out into the living room.
“What overcrowd-, oh.”
As if for the first time, Susanna saw all of the plants that were carefully placed or hung on every inch of available surface area in the house.
“Wow! I hadn’t really noticed how out of control the green has gotten around here.”
Her mother just smiled.
“You are cute, you know that?”
Susanna returned her attention to the screen and scrolled down to find even more examples of tiny gardening. Mrs. May could see right away that her daughter was instantly smitten.
“Yes, this will work out wonderfully.”
“Hmmm? What mom?”
There’s a freshly painted sign that hangs under the mailbox on the May’s house now…
Susanna’s Miniature Gardens
“The Land of the Fairy”
My inspiration for this Flash Fiction: