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Mrs. Begonia's Garden Party


By Bridgette Jochem



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Mrs Begonia was very excited.
There were only four more sleeps
until the day of her garden party.
When everyone from the gardening club,
would be coming to see her garden.

Mrs Begonia had been very busy,
preparing for the big day.
She had polished all the leaves on her shrubs,
rounded up all the slugs and snails,
and chased them down the street.
And she had chased the opossum out of the mandarin tree.

She had scrubbed the outside walls of her house
until they shone and the bright colours
of the roses were reflected in them.
She had scrubbed the concrete path around the house,
painted the clothesline, and she had arranged
all the clothes pegs in straight lines,
with all the same colours together.
Every night for the past week, Mrs Begonia
had gone to bed absolutely exhausted.
And she still had to comb the grass,
brush the hedge
and spring clean the house.

On Tuesday, three days before the big party,
Mrs Begonia got out of bed, yawned, stretched
and went to her bedroom window to look out at her garden.
When SHOCK, HORRORS. All the flowers were gone.
There were just storks, stems and bare branches left.

Mrs Begonia went back to bed so that she could wake up again
and the bad dream would be over.
She got up a second time,
yawned, stretched, went to the window.
There were still only storks, stems and bare branches.
She thought that maybe she had sleep-walked
and woken up in the wrong house.
But no, it was definitely her painted clothesline
and scrubbed concrete path gleaming
in the early morning sunlight.

"How horrendous," cried Mrs Begonia.
"What could have done such a thing?"
And without bothering to get dressed,
she raced down the stairs, opened the front door
and there lying on the scrubbed concrete steps were,
four of the biggest, fattest caterpillars
you have ever seen.

They were lying on their backs,
holding their stomachs and complaining of tummy ache.
"Moan" moaned the biggest caterpillar.
"Belch," belched the second biggest.
"Groan," groaned the third.
And "Burp," burped the fourth.
Mrs Begonia was absolutely livid.

"Have you caterpillars eaten all of my flowers?"
"Yes. Burp And they tasted great. You certainly
had a lovely garden," said the biggest one.
"I've got a garden party in three days
and nothing but storks, stems and bare branches
to show off to my guests.
What are YOU going to do about it?' demanded Mrs Begonia.

"Nothing," said one.
"Go to sleep,' said another.
"Why don't you just sell this house and garden
and buy another one to have your garden party in?" said the third.
"I think I'm going to be sick," said the fourth.

"No I insist you take responsibility for your actions.
And fix up my garden in time for my party on Friday."
Said Mrs Begonia.
"No-can-do." Said the biggest caterpillar.
"We won't have time. We are making our cocoons soon and by Friday we will all be butterflies."

That gave Mrs Begonia an idea.
"Butterflies, by Friday ah.
Do you have many friends?"
"Oh course, lovable creatures like us always have lots of friends,"
Said the caterpillars.
"Well, might I suggest that when you and all your friends have
turned into butterflies, you come back here and arrange
yourselves in my garden
and pretend to be flowers." Said Mrs Begonia.

"And why would we want to do that" asked the caterpillars.
"Because, "said Mrs Begonia, it's the least you can do
since you have totally destroyed my garden."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. We'll be here," said the caterpillars.

Mrs Begonia was worried though.
What if the caterpillars didn't keep their word?
What if they didn't return?
She thought she had better be prepared for the party anyway.
So she cleaned her house from top to bottom,
brushed her hedge (luckily the caterpillars had not eaten that)
and combed the grass on the lawn, making a nice
clean part down the middle.

After that Mrs Begonia went to stay with her sister, Mrs Fuchsia,
who lived on the other side of town.
She found staying at home with her garden of storks' stems and bare branches too depressing.

The day of the garden party dawned bright and clear.
The peoples of the gardening club were due to arrive at 11.30am.
And Mrs Begonia had arranged for the butterflies to come at 10.30am
so she could sort them out into sizes and colours
and assign them to their positions.

At 10.25 no butterflies had arrived,
and Mrs Begonia was starting to fret.
But at 10.29 10 butterflies had arrived and by 10.35sm
One thousand butterflies had arrived.
Mrs Begonia was most pleased.
It was lucky that her sister, Mrs Fuchsia
Had thought to bring a loud speaker with them.
And by 11.25am all the butterflies were arranged
and in position.

All the pink ones were hovering in small groups
on the rhododendron tree.
All the red and all the white butterflies were hovering
on the rose bush storks.
The yellow ones were hovering on the storks
of the daisy bushes.
On the ends of the creepers were all the purple butterflies.
The blue butterflies hovered above the storks of the giant forget-me-nots
and the orange butterflies hovered around the shrubs
on the lawn.
"Magnificent," croaked Mrs Begonia.
(Her throat was rather horse from all
the organising and shouting over the loud speaker.)

"Now if everyone can just hold their place
for the next hour and a half,
We might just get away with it.
All the garden party guests arrived right on time.
"Tell me, Mrs Begonia. How do you get your flowers?
to shimmer so attractively in this breeze?" Asked Mrs Camellia.
"Yes. And your rather unusual roses are delightfully
reflected in the white walls of your house." Mr Conifer said.
"And you pink rhododendron catches the light at just the right angle.
The flowers almost seem to be alive." Said Rosie McDonald.

At one o'clock Mrs Begonia could see that the butterflies
were starting to look uncomfortable and tired.
So she suggested that they adjourn their garden party
to the park, where they could eat there lunch and feed the ducks.
Fortunately all the other garden club members agreed.

They all had a terrific time, eating their cucumber sandwiches
and feeding the ducks.
And the most amazing thing happened.
A huge swarm of the most colourful, beautiful butterflies
Joined them at their picnic.
Where they seemed to make a special fuss of Mrs Begonia.



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