AntipodeanSF Issue 307

By Lynne Lumsden Green

“Have you heard the news?” whispered the Spring Breeze to the fairy woman, as the breeze made the water on the pond ripple in the sunlight. The zephyr always had the most up-to-date gossip.

“Please don’t tell me that another hailstorm is on the way. We’re still recovering from that last one,” said the Rhododendron Fairy. “Most of my darlings can cope with the cold, but not hailstones the size of grapefruit!”

“Worse. The committee are talking about digging out all the non-native plants. They want to return the gardens into a more natural environment. Encourage the survival of the local native animals.”

The Rhododendron Fairy had been making her final preparations for Spring. All her charges were prepped, buds quivering, ready to flower. She had sent her annual invitation to the bees. All that was needed was the warmth of the sun and some dainty showers, and everything would be perfect.

Most people didn’t know — or care — that the rhododendron flower symbolised danger because some species were toxic, so toxic even their honey was poisonous. Native animals and most insects couldn’t eat the leaves or flowers. However, the Gardens weren’t part of a natural ecosystem; they were in a park in the middle of the city. They weren’t big enough to support a viable population of native animals.

Still, if the committee did decide to go native, most of her lovely plants would be among those dug up and discarded. She cherished all her cultivars, from all over Asia and the Himalayas. It was so unfair … nothing was as lovely as a garden of rhododendron shrubs in full flower. People visited the Gardens especially to see them. 

“We shouldn’t be too concerned if they’re only talking about it,” said the fairy. “The committee makes a lot of plans that never happen. Anyway, I have a good proportion of native Australian rhododendrons and their hybrids in my gardens. Why throw out the rest? The committee is just trying to appear environmentally sound. It won’t come to anything.”

“Not this time. Stan the Man is the one pushing the change.”

Stan the Man was worse than any hailstorm; at least a hailstorm didn’t think it was always right. He had been behind the removal of many a foreign specimen in the gardens: trees, shrubs, ground covers. If they weren’t Australian, Stan wanted them gone. The fairy feared her shrubs were doomed. Unless…she had the inklings of a plan.

“Does Stan still have his pre-meeting morning tea at the Garden Café? Does he still take honey on his crumpets?” asked the fairy. 

“Yes, to both questions,” replied the Spring Breeze, shaking the leaves in the gum trees. “He never misses the opportunity to boss around the servers.”

 The fairy smiled and said, “Good. Now I just need to chat with the bees. Maybe we can sneak a little rhododendron honey into his meal.”

“You’re not planning to murder him, are you?”

“Nothing so dramatic. But wouldn’t it be a shame if he came over too ill to attend the next meeting or two.”

The wind whistled through the branches. “OoooOOOoooooo. Clever!”

“Generations ago, humans sent my flowers to impart the message: ‘beware the choice you make.’ It’s time that Stan learnt that lesson.” She grinned. “And — as a concession to Stan’s dedication to preserving the ecology — I’ll ask the help of the native bees as well as the honeybees.”

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About the Author

 lynne lumsden green 200Lynne Lumsden Green lives in Queensland, Australia, though – in reality – she lives inside her head (it’s cosy in there). She writes both fiction and nonfiction.

She has had stories and articles published by Queensland Writing magazine, DailySF, AntipodeanSF, Every Day Fiction, Aurealis magazine, and in over a dozen anthologies of fiction.

She wants her stories to live in her readers’ heads.

You can find her blog at: <https://cogpunksteamscribe.wordpress.com/>.

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Issue Contributors

The AntiSF Radio Show

antipod-show-50Our weekly podcast features the stories from recently published issues, often narrated by the authors themselves.

Listen to the latest episode now:

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show is also broadcast on community radio, 2NVR, 105.9FM every Sunday evening at 7:00pm.

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Meet the Narrators

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  • Alistair Lloyd

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  • Geraldine Borella

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  • Mark English

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  • Laurie Bell

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  • Ed Errington

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  • Juliette Cavendish

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  • Tim Borella

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    Tim lives with his wife Georgie in beautiful Far

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  • Sarah Jane Justice

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  • Marg Essex

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