Columns 6.12.2017 10:07 am

Greenhorn fingered for royal-speak

Cliff Buchler.

Cliff Buchler.

My gardening experience has never gone beyond mowing and trimming the edges.

The rest is left to the green-fingered fundis. But that has changed. Since hitting the slow lane, I’ve had to find something to fill the time between writing, reading and remote surfing.

It’s while hunting for gut to feed the edge-trimmer that I find myself in the gardening aisle of the supermarket.

There I espy an array of tools attractively displayed. Spades, forks, rakes, pruning shears – all the stuff needed for pukka gardening. I’m hooked, and come away with a boot-full that I proudly show my Heidi.

The look she gives me reminds me of my mom when I came home with a new toy – one that she knows would be shelved or broken after a few days. Like the rake breaks when I accidentally ride over it with the car. The trowel is slightly bent after hitting builders’ rubble.

The spade’s wooden handle breaks off when using it as a pick. Fortunately, most of the planting has been done, so all that is left for my attention is to clean up the beds, feed fertiliser, and keep watering. So far the response from the plants has been pleasing. Except the roses. Wilted and stilted. Then one day for some weird reason the image of Prince Charles appears before me.

Remember, it is he who converses with the flowers? If such a weed can do it, why can’t I? So while Heidi is out shopping I kneel beside the rose bush and audibly say something like, “You are so beautiful, and I love you. But, for my sake, so that I can prove Heidi wrong, get a life. Pout those lips and let the colours flow.”

And to my horror, the bush replies: “Hi, Cliff, I didn’t think you felt that way about me!” It slowly dawns on me that the voice is that of Carol, our nextdoor neighbour, having me on – through the brick wall.

Red-faced I slink into the house, cursing His Royal Highness and his greenies for believing such garbage. With dread I’m awaiting the day when Carol blows the whistle over our romantic (sic) exchange. No spouse would believe the true story. The roses, still wilting, are further damning evidence.


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