Revenge or fair play? That’s what my garden story is about today. Are you ready to be the judge in a case of a garden crime?
We all have that favorite plant. You know the one that you’ve tried to grow for years and is finally thriving? That’s the plant I’m talking about here. It could be the asparagus that you’ve lovingly tended year after year. Maybe it’s the daffodils that you forgot about and are now surprising the entire neighborhood with their brilliant color.
For Rose Halter, that plant is a pink hydrangea bush. “I have always struggled to get a pink hydrangea to grow. All my previous hydrangeas always turned out to be shades of blue and purple. So I’d become quite fond of this one.”
Imagine her surprise, then, when she found her husband chopping away at the beloved bush! Why would he do such a thing? And perhaps more importantly, what would Rose do to get her revenge?
In A Plant for a Plant, Rose shares with us her devious plan of … what? I suppose you could say this story is about vengeance. I’m inclined to say Rose is the hero in my garden story that I’m sharing with you today. Like I said, though, I’ll let you be the judge.
Turnabout Is Fair Play? That’s What My Garden Story Today Is About, But There Are Plenty More Funny Garden Stories in GreenPrints.
This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. I love pieces like these that turn stories into comical moments of laughter, and I hope you enjoy this story as well.
A Plant for a Plant
He got mine. I got his.
By Rose Halter
My name is Haleigh Halter and I am submitting a story to you on behalf of my grandmother Rose. She told me this story several years ago and always wanted to write it down and submit it to GreenPrints. So I have done it for her.
A couple of years ago, I walked through the dining room and saw my husband, Bill, chopping away at something. I pulled the curtains back to get a better view—and to my dismay he was chopping away at my pink hydrangea bush!
I opened the window and yelled, “What do you think you are doing?!”
He hollered back, “That hydrangea bush is getting too close to the air conditioner, and it’s not getting the circulation it needs!”
Heck, there was a good two feet in between the bush and that air conditioner unit. I have always struggled to get a pink hydrangea to grow. All my previous hydrangeas always turned out to be shades of blue and purple. So I’d become quite fond of this one.
Crying, I walked out to look. It lay in shambles. Barely a little sprout stuck out of the ground. I grimly walked back to the house, and as I did, I had the perfect idea.
An English walnut tree had plagued our yard for years and years. It had a diameter the size of a two-liter soda bottle. It refused to grow, its trunk was busted, and webworms made their messy homes in it every year. Bill always refused to cut it down, so I planned to get my revenge by chopping it down myself. An eye for an eye and a tree for a tree, if you will.
I headed to the barn and found a hatchet. I stood next to that tree, swung back, and started hacking. My son who lives down the road came by. He burst out laughing and started taking pictures. He asked if I wanted him to get a chainsaw, but I stubbornly refused. I finished the job late that afternoon. Bill never said a word about it.
Till the next day. Then he told me I had to complete my job and dig out the stump and roots so he wouldn’t have to mow around it. So I went back to work snipping, cutting, pulling, and digging. After two hours, I hadn’t gotten very far—and I was exhausted. I realized that, at 70 years old, I might have gotten in a little over my head. Eventually my husband must have started to feel bad about it all. He got his tractor and a chain and helped me pull the rest of the tree out.
That following year my pink hydrangea grew back and bloomed all over. It was absolutely stunning.
I can’t say the same for that English walnut tree. ❖
By Rose Halter, published originally in 2022, in GreenPrints Issue #130. Illustrated by Tim Foley
Can you relate to Rose in this story? Do you have any tales of fair play in the garden? I’d love to read your story in the comments.