It was just about light and still a little cool for May. The ground was damp, but at least not sodden. Stella bent down and picked up a handful of soil. Yes, it was beautifully moist and soft. Today’s job would be easy.
The van arrived before the neighbours set off. She’d called in a favour. Greg owed her for all the times she’d taken in the twins after school and then taken them home and put them to bed whilst he visited Karen in hospital.
They unloaded the trays of bedding plants and soon the front-lawn was filled with busy lizzies, lobelia, geraniums and other colourful plants she couldn’t name.
“Good luck with it all,” said Greg as he climbed back into the van. “Looks like you’ve got your work cut out. If you pull it off, though, it’ll look great.”
She worked all day, dibbing and planting, picking and choosing, bending and stretching. Her back ached, her fingers became black – she did have gloves but worked better without them and besides, she liked the feel of the soil in her hands – and the sun caught her face. She hardly stopped to eat or drink. Just as the commuters started returning she finished. She sat down on the patio bench and admired her work. Instant garden, she thought. Just add water and sunshine.
The phone rang. A couple wished to see the house. Could they come for a viewing in an hour’s time?
She scrubbed her nails, showered and changed.
They were enthusiastic. “And the garden’s so pretty,” the young woman gushed.
Just as Rob’s car pulled on to the drive, the phone rang again. It was the estate agent. The couple had made an offer on the house, spot on the asking price. After all those months and all those viewings.
She was glad she’d remembered her time in Holland when the instant gardens were delivered before breakfast in May.