The Joy of a Gardener – by Ishola Ubaydah (College)

Grandma Gardenia has a vegetable patch in her backyard where she cultivates all kinds of pepper. Last night, she kept dreaming of her pepper plants, but mind you, these were no ordinary pepper plants. They were the kind that would cheer you up when you felt sad, the kind that would keep you company when you felt bored and lonely, the kind that would help you spice things up, the kind that would sometimes visit you in your sleep!
It was a chilly Saturday morning. As the old, grey-haired woman stepped out of her dinky cottage, the strong, tangy aroma of wet soil wafted in the air and filled her nostrils. She could see and hear her pepper plants laughing out loud, and she wondered who was cracking them up this time. Perhaps it was Chilli, the most mature plant that was beginning to bear some really red, spicy pepper. Or maybe it was Sizzle, the one that bore the mild pepper she used in making her delicious pepper soup. Those two plants were her favourites and they knew it.
The pepper plants whistled a melodious “good morning” on sighting Grandma Gardenia. The old woman snickered and patted them one after the other. But as she patted them, she noticed they were delighted. Delighted but cold.
With rickety steps, she hurried into her cottage and brought out her heat-resistant jar. The moment she unscrewed the cap, a swarm of fireflies escaped into the chilly air, buzzing excitedly as they perched on the ever-vibrant plants. The small patch of pepper glowed like the Milky Way Galaxy. The rear end of the fireflies flashed a bright orange and mustard yellow, providing the pepper plants with the two things they liked the most: light and heat.
Chilli was so happy, he began to ‘pepper up’. And Sizzle, who was ticklish, began to emit iridescent bubbles. The other plants giggled and cackled.
Grandma Gardenia settled on her old garden chair and admired the sight of her vegetable patch under the inky blue sky. “The joy of a gardener,” she muttered happily to herself.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Photo Flora 2019-03 – Garden Magic
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