Tuesday 11th November

Good morning to you! Brilliant responses yesterday which cheered up our rainy day. And here's todays prompt...


The plant rooted itself in her garden overnight. Not a weed. Or a seedling. It should worry her, but she likes how the smug roses now look fearful, petals trembling.


  1. The next morning they (and the stately delphiniums) had been embraced into a tangle of voracious tendrils. All that remained was a single cobalt petal and a scattering of thorns.

  2. Once rooted, the idea took complete possession of her. Its tangling branches spreading far and wide destroying all her joy, laughter and hope. What remained was a deep, desperate despair.

  3. Roses have never understood poppies. They have no rootstock; no breeding. They just spring up overnight, all colour and innocence. But it’s enough for memory. Remember the eleventh of November.

  4. She listens. A squeal of rose otto. A gasp of centrifolia. Oils sweat on petal wings as the sinews of the plant mesh into a butterfly net, taut and tight.

  5. She used to take pleasure in searing
    Tender cuts. Now she adds
    Too much salt, burns the sirloin
    Slightly on each side. She likes
    How his elated smile dries out.

  6. She took the trembling
    rose petals indoors,
    rescued they sighed,
    smiled perfectly, smug
    again, centre
    place on top of
    the quivering red jelly-
    tiny jewelled tiaras-
    the dinner guests applauded.


  7. Add ball and blush to your home with aggressive roses. Anxiously abolish the rose from its container. Untangle circuitous alien roots. Allotment in aboriginal spring and baptise atomic a week.

  8. Beanstalk

    When she pushes through the last leaves
    there’s no giant, no rattle of bones,
    no stink of danger and the place
    looks pretty much like the one she left.

  9. The apple tree, planted in the middle of the herb labyrinth, was Lucy’s favourite thing in the whole garden. Her father told her that it had appeared out of nowhere on the day she was born but Uncle Jasfoup had revealed one day, when she was upset and needed the cheer of a secret shared, that it was actually planted two days later; a sapling given to Harold to commemorate her birth.

    It was an odd tree, out of sync with the rest of the garden by a month or two. In Spring it was still bare-limbed when the other trees were full of blossom and in winter it still held its leaves until the chocolates in her advent calendar ran out.

    The fruits, which always ripened for her birthday at the end of October (‘magic,’ her father said while she was too young to research cross-pollination and the genetics of cultivars), were the sweetest ever, and were the closest thing she could imagine to the Fudge Tree planted by Polly in ‘The Magician’s Nephew,’ so sweet were they. She called it the toffee-apple tree and the name stuck. She buried her first dog under its branches and dreamed of a handsome prince on a white dragon in the dappled shade of summer.

    When she was thirteen it didn’t fruit at all. All through the summer she searched for a developing apple to no avail. Her father shook his head, uncertain why the Birthday Tree had failed.

    On the morning of her fourteenth birthday he took her outside. The tree had sprouted a single apple overnight, bigger than previous years and with a golden, mirrored surface. Lucy laughed and called it ‘The Apple of Paris’ and it fell into her hand the moment her fingers touched it.

    “Magic,” she said.

  10. My breath-It tried to stop. Collapsing in the gutter, hands trembling, I opened the door, pushed the baby onto the back seat. Sat still. Until I felt it stop.


  11. Fear is deep
    With roots branched and many
    fear to have
    him, keep forever,
    She digs
    to uproot the dread,
    the fight severe,
    him or fear, him or fear.

  12. Transplanting is an art in some places; in others it’s a crime. Take Oz. You can’t even slip in on a banana skin so don’t think about catching a tumbleweed.

  13. The rose petals are trembling with fear as there is no apostrophe in todays. Perhaps the new plant is one that Eats, Shoots and Leaves. They are afraid, very afraid!

    Jill hassall@blueyonder.co.uk

  14. The best roots are woody and deep but hers were shallow and he knew she would leave his earthy bed. He moved his hands along her body in joyful anxiety.

  15. She strained for breath and the release it would bring, trying to repulse the sensations spreading through her inner dirt. Not now. Not here. Not like this. Not with him.

  16. Stinging nettles claim their legal right as tenants of my garden for over 50 years, though I dare to attack their prolific offspring, while aware that they are permanently armed.

    Mary Rose. 7.11.08 30 words.

  17. She could hear the flowers talking to her. The lilies always sounded boastful. The roses, smug, conceited. She loved the marigolds most; they would sing to her as she worked.

    Jamieson Wolf

  18. You stumbled out of the patio doors and collapsed on the garden bench, trembling. You thrust your hands into your pockets, trying to still them. If you spoke you knew your voice would quiver, like the silent ripples on the garden pond. But today the water was still and serene. You felt calmness rising through your feet, up your legs. It spread throughout your body. Your breathing grew deeper.

    Nature always told you how to behave.

    You looked at the single pink rose standing proud and erect amongst the shrubs, its petals opening high above the foliage. The sight of it made you automatically straighten up, pin back your drooping shoulders and hold your head high. You instantly felt a little better. You knew you would.

    Nature always told you how to behave.

    Autumnal leaves blew freely in the soft wind, tumbling over and over in the damp grass, carefree and confident after finally breaking away from the restrictions of the bough overhanging the garden. You looked up, waiting for others to claim their freedom. A slight breeze released them and you smiled at the implied message.

    Nature always told you how to behave.

    You watched a spider next to you, weaving her lace web between the seat and arms of the bench. She finished her work and moved to the side, hidden. The sunlight glinted on the strands, almost giving the game away, but the fly was unsuspecting. It had other thoughts on its mind. It was oblivious of the danger and flew into the centre of the trap. With focussed speed the spider ran from her hiding place, grabbed her victim and annihilated it. The fly was gone forever. You rose from the bench defiant, and walked back into the house.

    Nature always told you how to behave.

  19. Now in the night her dreams were of green, of shoots and earth pushed apart to allow roots to grow deep, to seek water and sustenance. Each night the dream became more vivid. Each morning she woke, not seeing the changes her friends were talking about behind her back. That translucent quality her skin took on, the greenness of her eyes. They simply thought her absence was a depression with modern life, shopping, or lunching that sometimes afflicted a lady not used to this way.

    When one day she started pushing her fingers into the soil in her garden, to feel the quality, she was shocked by the connection she felt. The earth was talking to her, calling her to grow, to reproduce here. Looking up, the incomer was straining on the wall it was climbing. Reaching out towards her, almost alive. Pulling her hand from the soil sharply she scolded herself for her stupidity. But the pain she felt at the disconnection was real. The way her new plant seemed to slump in loss at her separation made her feel selfish and unkind. As if she had chided a lover about their fidelity or the strength of their love. That night she dreamt of crying, next morning the plant was gone. Her garden seemed a place with something missing.

    She was meeting the ladies later, they were happy that she was coming back to see them after her short brief illness. She was to meet Howard, single, attractive, but most importantly, wealthy and lonely. As she walked in to the hotel restaurant she saw them in the corner, and the man, Howard stood to greet her with a kiss on her hand, and as he bent towards her she saw the flash of his eyes. His gorgeous green eyes.



  20. The poison in the woman’s form
    deep seated, deadly with the
    Seductive seeds of venom paired,
    in the garden of his heart,
    smug, colourful, roses of divinity,
    serve as antidote.

  21. And well they should look fearful, after all a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant would put the wind up anyone. What troubled her most was how they got planning permission.

  22. She'd never liked roses, anyway. They reminded her of the way people folded napkins, about making an impression, putting on a show. Admittedly, sometimes they had a nice fragrance but never anything lasting and the napkin had to be unfolded in order for the rose to be made into perfume. Was she getting confused? Maybe. She didn't like roses but she did like the television makeover programmes which fertilised the seeds of change forever germinating in her soul. Bring the outdoors in, they said. It turned out that roses didn't like the central heating much. Worse, when their petals fell to the floor, they were too shrivelled to be made into perfume or to scatter in her bath and too dog-eared for pot pourri. Bloody useless. She got out the leaf blower, a handy tool. It sucked as well as blew; who ever heard of a vacuum cleaner that could do that? She emptied the petals onto the compost heap in the corner of the sitting room. Don't worry, it was cunningly screened from the rest of the room by some trellis. Here, she cheated a little by using ivy intended as a house plant. Sometimes, you just had to compromise, that much she had learned from the programmes. Talking of which, it must be time to switch on.

    Between the stock phrases used by the presenters, templates for every single show, it was hard to distinguish one episode from another. Your garden should be a journey, hinting at what is around the corner, always go for a white bathroom suite because it might not please the next person who lives there and they will not want what's your personal taste. Apparently, it's OK for them to put their own stamp on the place. Congratulations on your new home.

  23. The growth of the tumour was fast.The other girls in the office were frightened to talk to her about it. Their whisperings rained down and saturated her,drowning her.

  24. The withered roses remind her of her sisters, how their looks of superiority evaporated as she told them her news. She had won more than money with that lottery ticket.

  25. The newly rooted plant grew and grew, throwing shadows across the garden, overpowering even the stately roses, eventually climbing out over the sturdy fence, spreading tangled foliage onward into infinity.

  26. He said not to bother with condoms; promised he’d withdraw in time. She was nervous, too weak to resist. Now he’s terrified, too weak to look her in the eye.

  27. borne in inflorescence
    male clusters in spikelets
    female sheathed in leaves
    magenta furled, lime and brown
    fine hairs of silk
    the Dent, the Flint, the Sweet,
    the Pop, the Pod

    Geraldine Cousins gerryco@mail.com

  28. Everything is scared these days, even autumn leaves tremble. Each fallen leaf whispers its fears into the wind. You can hear them. Listen.

    Each tiny confession gives us less hope.

    Annie Clarkson

  29. From Douglas:


    Some ideas take time to germinate. Long time. Slow to root. Lie in the warm dark of deep thought, shifting in the seed, buried and forgotten. But never quite still. Turning turning in the fertile soil of imagination. And then, least expected, springing forth in full blossom, to the sudden surprise surface.

    She’d touched his arm. Briefly, held just long enough that it was not a fleeting brush. Not something accidental or hurried. No, this was a touch, a still moment, her hand at rest on him. And this time Caledon noticed. The gentle pressure of her fingers through the sleeve of his shirt. The little warmth of her caress - for it felt something like a caress, light, with the small weight of a bird or a moth. And then, when she was not touching him again, Caledon missed her. He noticed that too.

    He didn’t know why he hadn’t seen it before. What was there, in just her touch.

    Something must be different, he thought. Something must have changed. In her. Perhaps it was her hair was altered, or her clothes, or her perfume. He leaned towards her. Not so she saw. He breathed her in, drank in the scent of her, and tried to taste the difference. There was something. And it changed things. Between them.

    Is everything alright, she said.

    Caledon nodded.

    Really? she said.

    He wondered if she knew, already. And whether she’d tell him if he asked. You see, he wasn’t sure he knew himself. What this was. This lightness in him. And a yearning, such a yearning, to return her touch and to hold it, just long enough so she would know.

    She punched him on the arm and told him to stop goofing around.

    The brightness of the flower can sometimes blind.

  30. He was certain he had planted the information
    in the right order,and at the right time.
    Nurtured love and cared for.
    How so my flower children are not Hippies?

    Steve Donegan

  31. Louise loved her ‘wilderness garden’, even though her neighbours begged her to tidy it up. She stood firm. She wasn’t going to chop it down for anybody, even if Marjorie Pringle had arranged their entrance into the Blooming Village competition.

    Possibly she was imagining fear in the plants next door, but the vine twined along her fence and across the ground with an arrogant aggression. It seemed to shout a challenge. “I’m here, cut me down if you can, but I’ll be back.” Louise didn’t know where the odd plant had appeared from, but it seemed to grow several inches a day. By the end of the week it had taken control of the corner of the garden and was encroaching upon the tree. A month later, the tree was fully ensnared and barely visible. The vine had grown bulbous sacks, multicoloured and full of seeds that gave the garden a strange ethereal quality.

    On the day of the competition, Marjorie guided Sir Malcolm Swinglowe, the competition judge around the village. Despite her guidance, he found Louise’s gate. Marjorie begged, “Please, Sir Malcolm, not that one. Consider the work the village has been putting in throughout the year.”

    “For pity sake, shut up woman. As far as I’m concerned I’ve seen enough.” He barked.

    Marjorie sagged. All of the planning had been for nothing, because of Louise and her stupid wilderness garden. Sir Malcolm was on his knees, examining the vine. “I’ve never seen one of these in the UK. Roses and buddleia? Seen them all, from Kendal down to Dorset, gardens full of roses and buddleia. Now a Japonicas Amelia Profuloma, that’s a plant to be proud of. Any village that has a gardener who can grow one of these is going to get the prize in my book.”


  32. The furrowed fields are planted with our hopes. The flags flutter, row upon row: our fathers, brothers, our comrades in arms. Freedom rings in an underground garden of paradise. Lost.

  33. Next morning her favourite plants were gone.
    The invader looked innocent enough acquiesing slender stems to the breeze. But beneath the earth...
    Now the roses, smug again, honed their thorns.

    Sandy Andrews


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