34 Hillyside Lane


By Gillian Davies

It was here again: the annual garden competition at Hillyside Lane.

In the weeks creeping up to this heralded day, every resident was decked out in their armour of gardening tools, gloves, and boots. But there was only one gardener who was a champion in pulling up the ranks of his flowers at sharp speed: and that was Howarth. Every year, as the competition neared, Howarth would loudly traipse his boots across his grass with the thunderous roar of his latest gtech cordless lawn mower. This year however, his artillery was even stronger. After purchasing a new razorsharp cutter, he swiftly ended the progress of any flower which looked too feeble to be on his canvas. Every day, during his meticulous inspections, he interrupted the natural calm of his soil by loudly hacking and churning at it. This made his soil appear fresh at the surface but it covered its unhappy dried-up texture below. On the day before the competition, he sat back on his chair with music blaring out. He watched whilst a robotic model 2590xpower trimmer, growled across the edges of his grass shaving off any threatening imperfections.

Howarth spotted John next door who was also loudly cutting his lawn and Howarth screamed over
“I’ve picked up this super strength miracle gro John it’ll bring the grass up to a blinding green in no time!”

John nodded at Howarth but was not listening because his podcast on ‘super strength gardening’ was pummelling his eardrums. Julie, on the opposite garden, glared over at the men and joined the cacophony of sound. She clicked on her jet washer as it blasted any remnant of soil on her patio. But whilst glaring over at the men, she had not realised that she had mutilated her daffodils in the path of the jetwasher.

Howarth stood up and poured the ‘miracle gro’ over every speck of grass. The soil was so drunk on chemicals that a bee, which had landed to help out his flowers, quickly diverted its flight from the stench.

The bee buzzed away from the whirlwind of sounds. It landed on a group of roses and accompanied many other bees who knew that this was the place to be: number 34 Hillyside Lane. Tucked away at the end of the road, this garden grew in abundance and was a quiet oasis of colour. The grass grew at different heights and shades. Ivy had been allowed to freely stretch up the face of the house like a large “go” sign for nature to arrive. Birds nestled themselves in the bushes and their melodic chirpings would now and then punctuate the silence here. Flurries of bees congregated here too. And so, this was a garden of growth where some flowers were bending over, some were withered but showed off their bright petals and some were quietly making their progress drinking from the sun and moist soil.