Competition Two Shortlisted: The Whispering Garden by

The Wyrd old Woman lived in her cottage in the shadow of the old church ruin on the hill. She tended her garden growing all kinds of fruit and vegetables, apples and pears, neeps and tatties, and even kept a few fat birds for eggs. Apart from the apple tree there was also an ancient yew, and the entrance to the garden was via the old lych gate that had once separated the yard of the church from the lane that passed by.

Although her produce was highly regarded, and she herself renowned in the herbal arte, the Wyrd old Woman’s door was not well frequented, and rumours abound. They spoke of the doctrine of signatures whereby in the book of Nature’s secrets can be read the application of plants and herbs: Bloodroot and Boneset, Lungwort and Spleenwort, Eyebright and Snakeroot, as she says, “It’s not just the Mandrake which maketh a man.” And many wondered how deep beneath hallowed ground those plants’ roots do grow.

Some say that they have heard the garden whispering in the hilltop breeze. Others say that they have read messages written in the midnight meanderings of slugs and snails. Others that sometimes the Wyrd old Woman releases to roam a hungry moon-night hare, at which the whispers in the garden become wails in the night.

Whatever the truth, the Wyrd old Woman continually tends her whispering garden, which by her cunning craft grows well.



MJR is an aspiring eccentric who tinkers with computers by day and dabbles with wyrd flash ficktion by night.


Image is taken from John Gerard’s famous book The herball or generall historie of plantes (1597). Link here.



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