Caroline, one of my young gardening friends, has been visiting my garden ever since she was a schoolgirl. Her own family garden in those days was all lawn, and she was interested in flowers.
Not that my own garden was much to shout about at that time. I was very much an amateur then, and still am, really. But we would walk around it together, peering and commenting, with Caroline asking most of the questions and me trying to come up with answers.
There was one corner of the garden she specially liked. It was well shaded by a big tree and was pretty much in its natural state.
One day she said ‘I always think of this as The Fairy Corner.’
It was a good name for it. Quiet, cool, secluded, with even a few patches of moss, and some tiny flowers I couldn’t identify. But in fact it was simply a corner of the garden that I’d never done anything with. Half-jokingly, I asked ‘Have you ever seen a fairy?’
Very thoughtfully she said ‘Not yet.’
It was an intriguing answer. I looked again at the quiet little corner. I could remember enjoying fairy stories about elves and sprites and enchanted gardens, though I’d never really believed them, even then. Still, if fairies had ever existed (I feel a bit silly even suggesting it), this was certainly the kind of spot they’d have chosen. But I didn’t know how Caroline felt about that.
‘Never mind,’ I said, ‘let’s call it The Fairy Corner anyway.’
Soon after that Caroline was sent off to school somewhere. It was a few years before she came again. We walked around the garden.
‘Is The Fairy Corner still there?’ she asked.
‘Yes, it is.’ We stood looking at it. It hadn’t changed much.
I said ‘The last time you were here I asked you if you’d ever seen a fairy. And you said “not yet”.’
Caroline shook her head. ‘I didn’t believe in fairies, but I thought maybe you did.’
‘I never did, either,’ I said. ‘But I thought you might’ve.
‘She asked ‘So do we still call it The Fairy Corner?’
‘Why not?’ I said. ‘It’ll save me having to do any work on it.’
‘And you never know,’ said Caroline, ‘we could both be wrong.’
About the image:
Balloon Cotton Bush seeds (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) by Lorna Rose/Fotoflora.com.au