Joey opened the screen door and stepped into the garden. He had never seen such a private garden. It was hugged in by brick walls on two sides and a dense row of hedges in the back. A few tall trees kept much of it in shade, but the front area, where a small table was set up, was bathed in late morning sunlight.
He wandered around the paved paths, taking pictures. He noticed several areas thick with flowers and small benches next to them. Several rocks rested among the plants, and smaller stones ringed some of the flowers.
A statue of a little boy reading sat among a bunch of tall pink and blue flowers. When Joey looked closer, he found other figures tucked among the leaves and flowers—rabbits and birds, small cottages, a few fairies.
He had to stop and admire the birdbath in the back of the garden. It was surrounded by a cloud of dark blue flowers and three birdhouses of the same color hung from the tree above it. He framed the image and took several pictures.
A few metal chairs painted in sunny colors sat under the trees. Joey imagined Mrs. Higgins sitting in them, enjoying different views of her garden.
He sat in a bright-orange one to see how it felt. There were yellow and orange flowers planted near it. Begonias, he thought they were called. They matched the chair. He knew she had done that on purpose. Lingering notes from wind chimes softly filled the air, and birdsong came from all the trees. Two birds flitted onto the rim of the birdbath and began to splash. He raised his camera and tried to capture them in action. He smiled out at the garden. It felt good just to be sitting there.
He followed the winding walk back to the front and focused the camera on the potting table where it looked like she had been working. Green-handled tools and an old pair of gardening gloves lay next to containers of red and pink flowers. The trellis along one brick wall was covered with climbing pale-purple flowers. The other side had bright-pink flowers. Wherever he looked, he found something interesting.
He heard a clink and saw that Vita was setting the small table with teacups and plates. Beth held the door open for Mrs. Higgins who carried a round blue teapot. He went to join them.
“It’s like being in a fairytale,” Joey said, as they sat down.
“A fairytale! I’m so glad you think so.” Mrs. Higgins began to pour the tea.
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