I wasn't sure. I checked the watering can, which was on the front walk where I had left it. It was still dry inside, and there was no sign of any such thing as a garden fairy. But I couldn't get out of my mind how real it all seemed and how specific the wishes were that the wee garden fairy said she could grant for me.
One garden to visit. One plant to grow. One pest to banish.
I decided I'd come up with my answers, regardless, and at the designated time, go to the place where the wee garden fairy said to meet her.
The day moved along in fits and starts until finally, it was 24 hours since I had seen the wee garden fairy. I sheepishly went back to the spot where I'd left the watering can and stood there pretending to look at some nearby plants, all the while hoping the wee garden fairy would return.
I felt a little tickle on the back of my ankle before I heard the garden fairy speak once again.
"We'll, did you come up with your three wishes? One garden to visit. One plant to grow. One pest to banish."
I found my voice and told her that I had. Then I answered quickly. England. Southern Magnolia. Weeds. Though the answers came quickly it had taken me all day to decide on them.
I picked England for the one garden to visit even though I knew, of course, that it was not just one garden, but thousands. I had decided if I was going to wish, I should wish big, to get all I could from this one wish. After all, I once wrote online that I wished to see the gardens of the Austin garden bloggers, and I got that wish, so I felt sure I'd get this wish, too.
I spent quite a bit of time coming up with the one plant to grow. I struggled early on because I had trained myself over the years to basically ignore any plant that wasn't hardy enough for my garden. Then I remembered how my Dad had tried to grow a Southern Magnolia and was successful for many years before it died after one particularly bad winter. Yes, Southern Magnolia would be my answer.
As I fantasized about what my garden would be like with no pests, I wished I could choose more than one pest to banish. I took a chance choosing "weeds", realizing that it might make me seem greedy. Of course, I meant in particular thistle and purslane. And oxalis and black medic and dandelions. And bindweed and lamb's quarter and those pesky mulberry tree seedlings that come up along the fence and the redbud and red maple tree seedlings, too. I figured without pesky weeds, I could learn to live with the animal pests in the garden, with enough plastic spoons and forks to protect my plants.
"Thank you, Carol", said the wee garden fairy. "I think I can definitely help these three wishes and grant them for you, but you'll need to meet my halfway. I need you to actually make a plan to go to England, buy a hardy variety of Magnolia grandiflora, like 'Little Gem', and go out into the garden to pull some weeds. That's the only way to get your three wishes."
Then she pulled out the scroll with the list of the three wishes she could grant and carefully wrote down what I wanted. One garden to visit - England. One plant to grow - Southern Magnolia. One pest to banish - weeds.
With a final flourish she signed it "Deema Mae Flowerweb".
Ha, now I knew her name.
Then she looked up at me one last time and in her wee garden fairy voice she offered some advice.
"Be careful what you wish for, and make sure you do your part to make your wishes come true. And for my sake and that of all the other wee garden fairies, please look in your watering cans before you start to fill them with water, lest you drown one of us. Yes, there are more of us, and we don't always grant the same three wishes."
With that final word, she blew a little handful of pollen into my face, forcing me to close my eyes and sneeze three times. When I opened them again, she was gone.
I don't know if I'll ever see Deema Mae Flowerweb again, or any other wee wish granting garden fairies. I hope that I do. But even if I don't see Deema or any other wee garden fairies again, I can assure you of this. I'm going to do my part to make my wishes come true, and I'm going to always look in my watering cans before I fill them with water.