“There’s that noise again” whispered Clayton’s Mum. Her husband stirred reluctantly. Not again, always around midnight, but before he could object to getting up for another futile search he also heard it.
It sounded like a mumbling with extended silences followed by a monotonous droning. It seemed to be coming from Clayton’s room and as he silently entered his teenage son’s bedroom he saw him sitting on the window ledge of the open window, chin on raised knees, seemingly chatting to someone out in the darkness. Startled, Clayton exclaimed, “Gotta go, it’s my Dad.”
“Well now young man, you have some explaining to do.”
They sat together on the bed. Clayton had a flamboyant imagination and a somewhat quirky habit of attracting trouble but his parents had seen a marked improvement in him during the last month, so what was all this about.
Clayton looked at his father with an uncharacteristic frown, “I was talking to Mrs Wotherspoon from next door, you know that I have been helping her with her garden for a couple of weeks and we were just chatting.”
“In the middle of the night, isn’t that a bit unusual even for you avid gardeners?”
“Dad, you know that Mrs Wotherspoon is blind and that day or night time makes no difference to her, she loves working in her garden in the cool of the night and she has told me that God has given her a special way of smelling and feeling plants. Did you know that she can even tell the difference between plants and weeds simply by touching them? I don’t understand all her God talk but she is a really nice lady and she is teaching me all about different varieties of plants, she holds my hand as we stroll through her garden and she asks me to describe what I can see, and then she tells me the names and other stuff about her flowers.”
“Well son, that’s all very interesting but what on earth were you two talking about at this hour?”
“It’s a bit of a long story Dad.”
“Ok Clayton, it is time we both went back to bed, tomorrow is Saturday and you can tell your mother and me all about it over breakfast because Mum is also a bit worried.”
The next morning Clayton told his parents that Mrs Wotherspoon had encouraged him to enter the Cheltenham annual native bloom competition. He had been to the nursery specialising in native plants and had bought a Tasmanian Waratah.
Mrs Wotherspoon had the plant in her garden in a special earthenware pot and was feeding it with a secret brew that Clayton had prepared according to her instructions. Being late November the Australian summer wasn’t far away and the Waratah’s blooms were at their best this time of year.
“So that’s what you two were talking about last night?” asked his Mum.
“Well….actually, no. Mrs Wotherspoon was telling me that the Bible also talks about gardens and that very important things had happened in those gardens, she was about to explain this all when Dad came into my room.”
“So when is this competition?” asked his Dad.
“Next weekend and we are getting a bit excited because Mrs Wotherspoon says that the Waratah bloom is one of the best she has ever experienced and she was sure we had a great chance to win a prize.”
Clayton’s Mum was quite surprised to hear all this as she and her husband were unaware that their lively lad had such a good relationship with their neighbour who she had only spoken to on a couple of occasions.
“Well Clayton, we wish you both all the very best in the competition and your Dad and me would also like to know a bit more about those gardens in the Bible.
With a sigh of relief Clayton raced outside, clambered over the fence and told his dear neighbour that his Mum and Dad would be coming with them next weekend.
For the next few days the Waratah bloom was lovingly nurtured in preparation for the judges.
The big day arrived and Clayton had a firm grip of Mrs Wotherspoon’s hand as they waited for the judge’s decision.
“The winner of the native bloom is Clayton Holsworthy”, was announced over the loudspeaker.
A huge hug from Mrs Wotherspoon sealed a great day but an excited Clayton had some unfinished business regarding those Bible gardens.
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