Word Count: 470
By Maggie Robertson
Susanna got an idea. Gazing out the car window on a rare trip, she spotted an old bed frame in someone’s yard. At first she thought it was junk carelessly tossed out the door, but then she spotted the flowers and it clicked.
“It’s a flower bed!”
Her imagination embarked on an expedition. Susanna was a fresh spirit, the essence of a new spring day in April. At 9 years old, she had a talent for flowers, and brought beauty to the world around her.
She did find an old bed frame in the back shed, and a whole lot more. Susanna created not just flower beds, but entire rooms. She found old cooking pots and assorted bowls; these she arranged around the enamel table and old farm sink she hauled out of the shed. She planted pitcher plants, cup-and-saucer vines, chalice, cup plants, and butter-and-eggs. She created walls for her “kitchen” with thorn apple and milkweed.
Her brothers complained a little about helping her move the heavy fixtures, but she promised the old clawfoot tub would be the last item she would ask them to move. She delineated the bathroom with outhouse hollyhocks. The old bathroom sink hosted powderpuff aster and floss flower; the tub was filled with soapwort and had a single mammoth sunflower grow up to create a showerhead. In the commode, of course, she planted sweet peas.
Then finally came the bedroom. She set up the bedframe, her initial inspiration for this undertaking. With fleece vine climbing the footboard, Susanna planted blanket flower toward the bottom of the bed, and Love-in-a-puff for the pillows. With a bit of a mischievous glint in her eye, in between these she planted Johnny Jump Up with Naughty Marrietta and Sleepy Daisy. She grew the walls with Ruby silk lovegrass, and even put a spider flower in the corner.
Early on in her project, her father forgot himself and made an offhand comment about adding vegetables to her gardens. Susanna was never keen about intrusions into her creative processes, and she bristled at the suggestion. After stewing for a while she knew what she had to do. She added another room.
This last room was a representation of their killing shed, where they processed the animals they decided to eat. She created the walls with bloody butcher corn, and splattered the room with oxheart and beefsteak tomatoes, including bloody butcher tomatoes to match the corn. She added redder blood and bloody marrow potatoes, bull’s blood beet and early blood turnip. To top it off, Love Lies Bleeding gushed out the door.
In late August when all the rooms were mature with full-grown vegetation, the effect was spectacular. For his part, Susanna’s father made yet another mental note to restrain from ever again making suggestions for his daughter’s projects.