Every fairy had a magical specialism: an area they were truly talented in. Some were flashy, like pyromancy. Others were more practical, such as healing. Most had discovered their specialism by the time they came of age.
Annelise had not. It wasn’t that Annelise was a bad fairy: she was pretty good at a number of things, just never the best…
She pretended not to care: it was no more than raindrops off a fairy’s wings. She kept busy, working as a support fairy. Her spare time was dedicated entirely to her garden.
Her garden was the one thing Annelise was proud of. Every spring it erupted into the most stunning profusion of blossoms, colours, and smells, every winter it was filled with bright red berries, glossy green holly, and delicate trailing ivy. There was nowhere more beautiful.
Annelise was planting a new bed one morning when she heard a shout behind her. She turned to see a man carrying an old lady.
‘Please help, she’s sick!’
‘She needs a healer fairy, I’m-’
The man cut her off ‘She asked for you: the fairy with the garden.’
The woman gasped ‘Bulbine… tagweed.’
Annelise knew the woman needed the plants to heal herself. She must have thought Annelise would have them. ‘I’m sorry, they don’t grow here! And they’re summer plants..’
‘Bulbine… tagweed,’ the woman repeated.
Without thinking, Annelise plunged her hands into the rich earth, clearing her mind of everything but the plants. Almost immediately a pale green sprout appeared, then another. Twenty seconds later, there stood two fine specimens of bulbine and tagweed. Annelise gave their leaves to the woman, who chewed them eagerly.
In an instant she began to recover. ‘I knew you could save me.’
‘But… how?’ asked the bemused Annelise.
‘You have powerful garden magic. I sensed it a hundred miles away.’
‘Garden magic? I’ve never had it before!’
The woman smiled, ‘You’ve always had it. Look at your garden if you want proof! But garden magic is like all of nature: it takes time. It needs nurturing and honest work. It just has to bloom.’