Frederik sensed the seasons changing. He knew he didn’t have much longer before the frosts came and the cooler temperatures brought an end to his life. If he found himself a new hive in time he might stand a chance, but he would have to leave his best friend.
The same best friend who offered him the shelter of her petals when his old hive cast him out. He was just another worker bee who got too old and too slow. The flower didn’t think so. She loved him, and she appreciated all the pollen he’d brought her over the summer. He didn’t know it, but she had saved her sweetest nectar for his daily visits.
She didn’t have much more than a month to go herself before the winter took over and scattered her seeds to the wind. He hugged her close. He would never leave.
Sure, she’d gone to seed. It happens. Still, she began to feel a little used, pulled in different directions by the weight of his web. She never signed up for helping him catch his prey. She liked bugs – they pollinated her for goodness sake! The day he decided to move into her seedhead without permission she put her foot down. Well, her metaphorical foot. More of a root, really.
It may have been overkill, but she called in a favor from the local ogre. He obliged by crashing through the undergrowth, colliding with the web, and carrying it away, stuck to his hairy ogre arm.
The spider peeked out from where he napped in the seedhead, grumbling. He should have taken the hint, but he was a bit thick, even for a spider, so he cast out a sticky thread and let the wind carry it where it willed.
The ogre, watching all of this and grinding his teeth in frustration, thundered back, plucked the seedhead from the stalk and shook the spider out. Terrified, the spider ran away. The ogre grinned and turned to his friend, realizing too late he had picked her and now she was gone.
“Oh,” he said. He felt bad but ogres don’t dwell on such things. After all, she’d be back next spring.
“All anyone wants to discuss are the holes in my petal! What about my stunning color, my ripening form, the seeds I’ve been growing all season? So I got nibbled earlier this summer, so what? Why must that define me?”
The man shrugged. “People are obsessed with appearances and there’s something different about you. There’s a lot they have to unlearn before they’ll see you for everything you are.”
“Ugh! Well, what do you know, you’re just a gardener.”
The man smiled to himself and offered the coneflower a bit of plant food before pushing his chair along the path to the next flowerbed. His garden was stunning this year.
“Hello, sunshine,” said the flower, holding out her leaves for a hug.
The platypus pixie flower is a rare hybrid of pixie and plant. They feed upon starlight and firefly gloamings and tend to be shy, but if you tread softly upon their lands they might just grant you a wish or two for fun.
The vetch unfurled himself, pretending to be an automaton caterpillar. The meadow had a shortage of those.
Above the surface the iris was a tempting beauty, but below, deep in the dark of the soil, she has an underground stem with enough poison to kill an ogre in his sleep. She is a favourite of assassins and witches, so be wary of those who grow them in their garden. Or befriend them, which might be wiser, after all.